Tariffs

Mexico Fires Back Against Trump With Plan to Target U.S. Farmers

A Mexican senator will introduce a bill to end all corn imports from the U.S.

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Rob Bertholf / Flickr

The United States is currently the largest producer and exporter of corn, but that title may take a hit if Guerrero Sen. Armando Rios Piter gets his way. CNN reports that the Mexican lawmaker will introduce a bill that would require all of that country's corn imports to come from Brazil or Argentina rather than the U.S.

The move is political: Piter explained to CNN that it's a "good way to tell them that [President Donald Trump's] hostile relationship has consequences, hope that it changes."

Trump has been vocal about his views on Mexico, insisting that the neighboring country will pay for a wall along the U.S.'s southern border and threatening to impose a hefty import tax on Mexican goods if the country doesn't comply. Trump has also lambasted the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he blames for U.S. jobs going to Mexico.

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service released a report in 2015 that contradicts Trump's claims about the trade deal. "In reality, NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters," the authors of the report wrote. "The net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest."

Trump has criticized NAFTA as being one-sided, but the numbers suggest otherwise. A study commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2012 found that "trade with Canada and Mexico supports nearly 14 million U.S. jobs, and nearly 5 million of these net jobs are supported by the increase in trade generated by NAFTA."

U.S. farmers also benefitted from NAFTA, with CNN reporting that corn exports to Mexico rose from $391 million in 1995 to $2.4 billion in 2015.

"Prior to NAFTA, Mexico's tariffs were highest for agricultural products," the Chamber of Commerce report explains. "NAFTA allowed American farmers and ranchers to get past those barriers. As a result, U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico have quintupled since NAFTA entered into force, and the United States today supplies three-quarters of Mexico's agri-food imports."

Piter's corn bill threatens this boon to U.S. farmers.

Economic protectionism comes with a price tag, and it will be the United States who ends up footing the bill. While Trump may argue that his policies will bolster the U.S. economy and its workers, he's far more likely to start a trade war, which in turn will hurt those he claims to want to help the most.

Update 2/14/17: Mexico is, of course, not in Central America.

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  1. South America doesn’t make enough corn for that.

    Doesn’t this dude remember the tortilla riots?

    1. Doesn’t this dude remember the tortilla riots?

      Flour tortillas for everyone!

      1. GROSS.

        1. And hence, riots.

    2. the tortilla riots?

      Was that sometime before the Habanero Wars?

    3. Were they anything like the zoot suit riots?

    4. And who can forget the burrito bombings?

      1. My bathroom sure hasn’t

      2. Tostado torpedoing?

        So Trump says Mexico is going to pay to build the wall, and Mexico says, “We’d rather starve”?

  2. Excellent example of politicians using nationalism and hatred of the U.S. to harm their own people.

    How will artificially jacking up the price of corn meal help Mexico’s poor?

    If I were a Mexican, I’d still be a free trader, and I’d want Mexican consumers to enjoy cheap imports regardless of what Trump said or did about walls and immigration.

    If I were anti-immigration activist, I’d want all of America to know that Mexican politicians see illegal entry to the United States as an entitlement.

    1. If you invade my country, I will shoot 10% of my soldiers!!!!

      1. If the army don’t successfully stop an invasion, maybe they should be decimated. “Pour encourager les autres.”

    2. “How will artificially jacking up the price of corn meal help Mexico’s poor?”

      The Mexican government cares nothing about the country’s poor. Their plan for dealing with poverty is to hope the poor people go to the United States instead of staying home and agitating to clean up the drug-cartel-coddling corrupt multi-level kleptocracy that calls itself the Mexican government.

      Trump’s policy of enforcing immigration laws throws sand in the gears of Mexico’s poverty-export machinery. So they hate Trump.

      1. Exactly. Seldom does anyone stop to consider that Mexico is perched next door to the largest, most prosperous and most advanced economy in human history who is also their primary trading partner. A solid example of how to order your society and economy in the modern world has been sitting right next door to them since the industrial revolution and yet most of Mexico remains desperately poor, so much so that 30% of Mexicans alive today live in the United States. How can this be if not for the Mexican government’s policies?

        If the choices are “fight the kleptocracy”, or “hop over the border and see my standard of living increase tenfold”, you begin to see why 30% of Mexicans alive today have chosen the second option. But would Mexico still have it’s problems if existing immigration laws were actually enforced and the second option was removed from the equation? The Mexican government’s malfeasance has long been insulated against reform by their very successful use of safety valve politics.

        1. That’s right, because the government has a long history of success stories when it comes to enforcing prohibitions.

          I still remember well when the American government so effectively took booze “off the table”. Americans had to do without for years!

          Wait….

  3. “NAFTA allowed American farmers and ranchers to get past those barriers. As a result, U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico have quintupled since NAFTA entered into force, and the United States today supplies three-quarters of Mexico’s agri-food imports.”

    And since American corn is so heavily subsidized by the federal government, it easily outcompetes locally-grown Mexican corn, contributing to illegal immigration as out-of-work farmers look for opportunities to the north. [hums an Alanis Morissette tune]

    1. hums an Alanis Morissette tune

      Uninvited?

      1. Hand in my Pocket, obvi.

        1. Wrong. It’s “You Oughta Know.”

          1. Also wrong, it’s Thank U.

      2. Is it that song that ironically misuses the word it’s about?

  4. Wouldn’t mexico be hurt by this since they have less corn being imported?

    1. Let’s call Secretary Flynn to find out. Du-oh!

    2. Shockingly, Mexican politicians tend to not give a shit.

      1. They give a shit. It is just that their sense of patriotism Trumps any sense of rationality they would have. Kind of like Trumpistas…

  5. How much is all of this distorted by massive US corn subsidies?

    1. Considerably. We significantly overproduce as a result of corn subsidies.

      1. And beer prices have gone up as corn gets planted instead of barley.

        1. ^^^This is the real tragedy in all of this^^^

          1. Yeah but doesn’t the cheaper Whiskey make up for it?

            1. Not if you prefer rye…

      2. That is a most succinct and accurate indictment of the “open borders” mob.

      3. Isn’t that primarily because of ethanol subsidies (Alas, not-for-drinking ethanol)?

  6. Good luck to Mexico on trying to piss off the United States. I’m sure it will turn out well for them.

    1. Hey all they gotta do is get a favorable write-up in the New York Times over this policy and their objective is achieved. The New York Times, if you remember, did far more to put Fidel Castro in power than Fidel Castro did.

  7. “The move is political: Piter explained to CNN that it’s a “good way to tell them that [President Donald Trump’s] hostile relationship has consequences, hope that it changes.”

    Isn’t this essentially admitting it is symbolism and won’t go anywhere? So how is it a consequence. Is this kind of like bernie sanders introducing medicare and free college for all that never go anywhere.

  8. I had a joke, but it’s kind of corny

    I’m totally a-maized by the alt-text today.

    1. This is what happens when there’s no Swiss Servator, even the writers start to make bad puns.

    2. Lindsay Marchello’s got an ear for what the commentariat likes.

      1. There’s a kernel of truth to that.

        1. She keeps this up and I may have to Stalk more of her articles

  9. “Trump has been vocal about his views on Mexico, insisting that the Central American country”

    I thought Mexico was part of *North* America?

    1. Look, they’re south of America, so South America.

    2. Wikipedia says Brits do that.

    3. There seem to be various views on the subject.

      I think it’s part in North America and part in Central America.

      All of it is where Mexico is, so it really doesn’t matter.

      1. Mexico is North America, as is all of “Central America”.

        1. Are you sure? I vaguely remember there being a Central Hemisphere.

    4. According to the UN, it’s part of Central America.
      http://unstats.un.org/unsd/met…..m#americas

      1. All of Central America is in North America

  10. Trumpkins got cucked so hard it’s not even funny.

  11. TRADE WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Do you people want a trade war? Because this is how you get a trade war!

  12. Aren’t we currently paying for all that corn and being hurt by it via subsidies?

    1. Corn subsidies and trade with Mexico seem like two separate issues, unless I’m missing something.

      1. What i am saying the author is talking about being hurt since that corn wont be sold to Mexico. But corn subsidies are the reason so much is available to begin with (some to sell to mexico). So perhaps instead we should remove the subsidies first if concerned about footing the bill that is something we can control.

        1. we should remove the subsidies first

          Careful – you’re starting to sound like a libertarian there.

        2. The subsidies certainly suck. I suspect if Mexico actually did ban US imports, the subsidies would go up. Because we can’t let Mexico hurt our patriotic American farmers!

          1. Mexico is raping our farmers. Oh the irony!

          2. The subsidies certainly suck. I suspect if Mexico actually did ban US imports, the subsidies would go up. Because we can’t let Mexico hurt our patriotic American farmers!

            Actually, I like the idea of getting drug dealer levels of rich smuggling American corn into Mexico.

            Buy one of these the size of my forearm in 24K. Switch the National Corn Grower’s Association annual corn yield contest report with the High Times on my coffee table…

      2. Corn is a staple of the Mexican diet. 3/4 of Mexican foodstuffs are imported from the U.S. U.S. corn is heavily subsidized by the federal government. Damn straight they’re related.

        And, as i mentioned above, cheap corn from the U.S. drives Mexican farmers out of business, incentivizing them to enter the U.S. illegally looking for work.

        1. —And, as i mentioned above, cheap corn from the U.S. drives Mexican farmers out of business, incentivizing them to enter the U.S. illegally looking for work.—

          What drove many Mexican farmers out of business was the series of socialist land reforms the government implemented since the 1930’s. Farmers who received their land from the government could not sell it or use it as collateral and had to farm whatever the Land Reform commissars told them to farm (I’m not kidding). If anything, these subsidies only made that system unsustainable but most other farmers grow export crops. The idea that most immigrants are ex farmers is, nevertheless, not accurate.

          1. Well, i defer to your expertise. Agriculture subsidies are still dumb as hell, though.

    2. and the requirement that 20% of all corn goes to ethanal production

  13. Fuck corn farmers. MAGA, my Mexican friend, MAGA !

    1. MAGA

      Except corn farmers. They were never that great to begin with.

      1. Yeah, they’re more MASA than MAGA.

  14. If this occurs, it will undoubtedly lower corn prices in the US, requiring more support for those poor, poor corn whores farmers.

  15. Economic protectionism comes with a price tag, and it will be the United States who ends up footing the bill

    Mexicans paying more for corn aren’t exactly getting a good bargain, either.

    1. We’re already footing the bill by making it cheap enough to be attractive to Mexico.

      1. Yea that was my poorly conveyed point above that lynch responded to

    2. LynchPin1477,

      —Mexicans paying more for corn aren’t exactly getting a good bargain, either.—

      If the sacrifice comes with constant reminders of the heroism of the Ni?os Heroes who defended the Chapultepec Palace from the invading Gringos, such things as paying a little more for tortillas will not matter much compared to the idea of sticking it to the hated El Se?or Presidente Bananero Trumpo.

  16. I love how Trumpkins now have to pretend that they just hate subsidies to farmers. They’re the worst, aren’t they?

  17. I love how Trumpkins have to pretend that they just hate government support for farming and manufacturing, like they’re lifelong Ayn Randians. Too kyute.

  18. Hey Trump – you know how hard our country’s great farmers are struggling. They need your help now!

  19. All Mexicans had to do was target an industry that isn’t highly dependent on cheap foreign labor to expose the hypocrisy of the Trumpkins. It was kind of brilliant.

  20. I hope Mexico and other countries start ramping up the pressure and expose Trump for the supreme idiot that he is. This is all just too damn funny.

    1. Well to clarify – it’s actually the Trumpkins who fell for it. It was a con for the ages, and I give him mad props, even if he didn’t think it all the way through.

      1. Are you sure it wasn’t a cob for the ages? And that you’re not giving mad pops?

    2. Slate.com is missing its village idiot commentator. Seek help. Seriously

      1. Stop feeding it and it will eventually die.

  21. Illinois will be the hardest hit. And those morons will take it out on Trump lower food prices will encourage Illinois to raise taxes.

    1. Won’t anyone think of poor Iowa?!?

  22. Stupid, stupid anarch0-frankentrumpkencucks. Where oh where did you go wrong??

  23. During the Calder?n administration, the US tried to pull a NAFTA-violating stunt which compelled the Mexican government to impose targeted tariffs against US agricultural goods. The farmers weren’t too happy about that and soon enough the US government caved.

    It was just like One Day Without Mexicans except for real…

    Trumpistas are imbeciles, except not the funny kind.

  24. Just build the wall. Then they can’t hurt us no more.

  25. Lindsay,

    The correct last name of senator Rios Piter is “Rios” and not “Piter”. Mexicans are not feminists(*)

    (*) The second last name is the mother’s last name. The family name is the father’s last name and that’s how we like it.

  26. “Begun, the Trade Wars, have.”

  27. “Oh no, the corn! Paul Newman’s going to have my legs broken.”

  28. Overall this is bad for the Mexican consumers.

    But if I wanted to destroy America, targeting its corn exports seems like a good idea.

    If you can wipe out enough of the exports, it’ll cause the price of corn to drop.

    Which will of course cause the American Corn Farmers to whine and bitch.

    And since everyone knows that American Corn Farmers are the true puppeteers of America’s government (and it is sad to me that I intended that to be hyperbole… but it’s really not), the American government will predictably respond by passing more corn subsidies.

    Thereby causing an unsustainable corn bubble. Well, you know, an even MORE unsustainable one.

    Then once corn farmers are subsidized to comfortable levels, you want to open up the trade again, around the planting season, allowing American corn importation once more, but this time TARIFF FREE. Get as many America-hating countries to repeal corn tariff at this time too. The levels of subsidization will cause massive amounts of investing into the Great Corn Bubble, then just as harvest rolls around, you get all the countries in your secret Destroy America pact to suddenly cut off all corn imports again, causing a corny depression in the US.

    1. surely we shouldn’t get into a row over corn.

      1. Of course not, that would be cultural appropriation.

        It would however have been fine when Obama was in office

        1. More like cultural ap-POP-riation, jeez

  29. More Ethanol subsides on their way. Your gasoline will now be required to be 110% ethanol to make up for the loss.

    1. That’s unpossible!!

      1. Since when has that stopped a government regulation?

  30. More Ethanol subsides on their way. Your gasoline will now be required to be 110% ethanol to make up for the loss.

  31. I want to say we deserve this, but the people who inevitably suffer the most due to all this bureaucratic petty are never the ones who deserve it.

  32. The housewives of Mexico are facing a steep rise in the price of masa, and tortillas, if he follows through.
    So, who does he want to face off with, the farmers, or the housewives?
    The farmers already got screwed by NAFTA which let in all that “cheap” American corn.
    Whattacountry.

  33. Now why is it that Mexicans want to leave Mexico? Somebody remind me. Was it the cheap corn prices?

  34. So domestic corn prices will come down due to decreased demand? Good. Maybe next we can get rid of the ethanol mandate and decrease corn prices further. And our small engines will actually start in the spring.

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