MEXICO CITY • Mexico expects to import a record 300,000 tonnes of yellow corn from Brazil this year after its livestock producers secured lower prices in deals with suppliers on a recent visit to South America as Nafta talks loom, a Mexican official has said.
Mr Alejandro Vazquez, a government official who was part of a Mexican delegation that visited Brazil and Argentina last week, said on Thursday that Mexican livestock companies had negotiated directly with suppliers and cut out commodities traders such as Cargill Inc and Louis Dreyfus that normally arrange shipments.
Following repeated threats by US President Donald Trump to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), Mexico, a net grains importer, has been eager to show the US that it has options to trade elsewhere.
It has touted an upcoming visit to China and trade talks under way with the European Union, Brazil and Argentina, while looking for new suppliers for the US grains that make up most of its imports of corn, wheat and soya beans.
The Trump administration launched the process for opening Nafta for revisions on Thursday and will likely face pressures from the politically connected US corn industry to maintain market access to Mexico, one of its biggest customers.
Mr Vazquez said Mexico should have shopped around for alternatives to US grains long ago. "Mexico was in a comfort zone," he said. "We didn't need to go and seek these opportunities that we're finding now."