Reuters – A deal to set limits on sugar imports to the United States from Mexico would squeeze U.S. sugar refiners, refiners said on Thursday, while sugar growers from both countries said the deal should stand.
By Richard Marosi / Los Angeles Times
The Mexican government and Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, have announced steps to improve the lives of the nation’s farmworkers, two months after a Los Angeles Times investigation detailed labor abuses at Mexican agribusinesses that supply major U.S. supermarket chains and restaurants.
Mexico’s secretary of agriculture, Enrique Martinez y Martinez, announced the creation Thursday of a “historic” alliance of produce industry groups that will focus on enforcing wage laws and improving housing, schools and healthcare for the more than 1 million laborers at export farms.
The group represents growers and distributors that handle 90 percent of Mexico’s produce exports to the United States, which have tripled over the last decade and now exceed $7.5 billion a year.
Separately, Wal-Mart said it is taking action to ensure that workers are treated with “respect and dignity,” reminding its in-house buyers that they should buy produce only from farms that meet the company’s standards for decent treatment of workers.
Reuters – Grappling with tumbling auto sales and weak economic growth, Brazil wants to renew an auto quota pact with Mexico that is set to expire in March, a move that could stoke trade tensions.
Auto trade between the two was then supposed to be fully liberalized, but Brazilian officials are now looking to extend the pact to avoid unlimited competition from Mexico.
The Economic Times – Mexico plans to resume iron ore exports from the port of Lazaro Cardenas in western Mexico, where the Knights Templar drug cartel allegedly had been illegally shipping the ore to China.
The Yucatan Times – Mexico and the United Kingdom committed to a goal of doubling bilateral commerce to $7 billion and increasing the number of British visitors to Mexico to 500,000.
A record 266,424 automobiles were produced in Mexico in January, up 6.8 percent from the same month in 2014, the Mexican Automotive Industry Association, or AMIA, said.
The growth in automobile output “was bolstered by the plants that started operations last year” in Mexico, the AMIA said in a statement.
A total of 103,697 light vehicles were sold last month, a figure that was up 21.3 percent from January 2014.
The automotive industry in January experienced “the best level in history for exports of light vehicles in one month, exporting 204,907 vehicles, with 15.2 percent growth,” the AMIA said.
Exports to Asia and Canada grew strongly, rising 35.8 percent, compared to the 2014 figures for both regions.
Sales to Europe and the United States grew 15.3 percent and 13.7 percent, respectively, while exports to Latin America and Africa fell 25.5 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively.
EFE – U.s. Customs and Border Protection seized more than two million dollars worth of narcotics and arrested 37 people in January at the border crossings at Hidalgo, Pharr and Mission, Texas.
Capital Press – U.S. exporters have been given more time to complete questionnaires related to allegations that they dumped apples in Mexico during the 2013-2014 sales season. The Chihuahua apple growers association, UNIFRUT, filed a complaint in the Mexican federal register Dec. 4 alleging U.S. shippers, mostly from Washington, sold apples in Mexico during 2013 at less than fair value, damaging Mexican growers.
Sentido Comun – The Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) announced the start of the export of strawberries to China.
Reuters – Pork exports from the United States to Mexico, its biggest market, are likely to grow more slowly in 2015 after three years of record increases, as a deadly pig virus abates in both countries.
Reuters – A deal on a 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade pact could be concluded in mid-March, Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said on Thursday.
Sentido Comun – Mexichem, the largest manufacturer of plastic pipes in Latin America and a major producer of chemicals, filed an appeal to the U.S. International Trade Commission decision on Chinese refrigerants.
Capital Press – The Washington apple industry is exporting more apples than a year ago despite a work slowdown by longshoremen at West Coast ports. That’s because a lot of apples are being trucked to Mexico and Canada without using the ports.
Reuters – Louis Dreyfus Commodities’ Imperial Sugar Co and AmCane Sugar have challenged the U.S.-Mexico trade deal, warning that the pact potentially harms domestic sugar refiners and prolongs a long-running dispute between the two countries.
Politico – President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will discuss the “mechanics” of how to quickly wrap up Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations when the two leaders meet today in Washington.
El Economista – To help close negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), aimed at driving trade among 12 countries, Mexico cut tariffs with other potential members, except Vietnam.
WSJ – Mexico ran up a $1.08 billion trade deficit in November as a drop in crude oil prices led to a deficit in petroleum products, offset by continued growth in exports of manufactured goods.
WSJ – The U.S. and Mexico have struck a deal to scrap tariffs on imports of Mexican sugar, ending a trade dispute that rattled candy-makers over higher costs for their key ingredient.