Mexico purchased ten times more corn from Brazil last year than it had previously.
Reuters says that’s due to the uncertainty regarding the potential outcome of the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
Mexican government data and top grain merchants all say they fear supply distruption from the U.S. if the White House ever followed through on its threat to withdraw from the pact. Mexico is already on track to buy more corn from Brazil in 2018.
That’s a move that hurts an already struggling U.S. ag sector faced with low commodity prices and rising South American competition. U.S. farmers, food processors, and grain traders have spent months trying to make sure relationships don’t fall part if the NAFTA negotiations suddenly fall apart.
They’re trying to protect over $19 billion in sales to Mexican buyers of corn, soybeans, poultry, and dairy.
Despite that, Mexican corn imports from Brazil are climbing, totaling over one-half million metric tons in 2017. That’s a more than 900 percent jump over the previous year. The purchases all came in the last four months of 2017.