The National Agricultural Council (CNA) of Mexico on Thursday asked President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to act firmly against the threat of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to apply protective measures for producers in the states of Florida and Georgia.
During the closing of the XXXVI Ordinary General Assembly of the ANC, the president of the agency, Bosco de la Vega, demanded that López Obrador take action before a possible Lighthizer movement.
He recalled that on January 9, 2020, the Lighthizer office sent a letter to Senators and representatives of the aforementioned states in which “it undertakes to work in favor of the producers of those states, analyzing some seasonal products that may be distorting their trade.
De la Vega called Lighthizer’s action “inadmissible” and said it is “violating the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“We cannot as a country undergo unilateral actions that damage the spirit of justice, equity, transparency and respect for free trade.”
The leader asked López Obrador “respectfully” that if the United States decides to take action, “Mexico based on its powers of the T-MEC, its mechanisms, as well as the WTO, exercise a firm and forceful response.
He added that “in case we are affected (as a sector), we know that we have all their support and we cannot allow this” and López Obrador responded with a nod.
De la Vega recalled that the T-MEC is in the final stretch of its ratification, only pending Canada, “which encourages the expectations of our sector and country generating certainty and investment.”
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On the other hand, De la Vega said that the Mexican agri-food sector has taken advantage of “the great platform” that forms the 13 trade agreements that Mexico has with more than 50 countries and has great challenges ahead.
Among them, the diversification of markets and products with third countries as well as taking care of and strengthening the internal market.
He said that the trade negotiations agenda is wide and as shown he said that the Treaty with the European Union is about to be ratified.
In addition to holding negotiations with Brazil and working on a free trade agreement with Ecuador, with the Pacific Alliance and said they should work to expand the benefits of a treaty with Japan and the pending protocols with China, but a good blow would be to achieve “a treaty with South Korea.
Before, De la Vega pointed out the 27% reduction of the budget for the agricultural sector in programs such as agricultural promotion, agrifood competitiveness, livestock development and rural environment insurance.
The manager described as “drastic” the reduction of the budget by eliminating or reducing some programs that have been fundamental to the field, “he said.
But President López Obrador said that this cut does not exist and explained that the resources for the field are not distributed through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Sader).
“The investment in the field is linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, the agricultural sector, but as part of the changes, the Ministry of Welfare is also responsible for promoting productive activity in the field and gave as an example the Sembrando Vida program, which It has an investment of 26,000 million pesos (about 1,333 million dollars).
In turn, the head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Sader), Víctor Villalobos, recalled that agri-food activities are closely linked to the economic and social stability of Mexico.
“So it is necessary and urgent to reposition agriculture in a long-term vision that allows its development and above all that achieves its consolidation as a promoter of growth and economic development in Mexico,” he said.