With all signs from the White House showing a desire to return to isolationism, who is likely to feel the greatest impact of this first?
The largest producer and exporter of corn in the world, our American farmers.
U.S. farmers who grow an abundance of corn and soybeans will be right there at the top of this changing tide.
Mexico has been our greatest ally in trade, with the corn market growing annually since the free trade deal NAFTA was signed between Mexico, America and Canada in 1994.
According to a CNN report, American farmers sent $2.4 billion of corn to Mexico in 2015. In 1995, the year after NAFTA became law, corn exports to Mexico were $391 million, climbing significantly each year.
As consumers, we have also enjoyed the crops of Mexico — the avocado, tomato and chili market provides a robust addition to our food supply.
Those items, President Trump has said, will likely be taxed 20-35 percent coming in to the U.S. in order to pay for the border wall he promised to build — making Mexico pay for it.
Mexican senator Armando Rios Piter, leader of a congressional committee on foreign relations, is introducing a bill to prompt Mexico to buy corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States, in taking a stance against the Trump administration.
Trump has made it clear he also wants to renegotiate NAFTA, blaming it for a flood of manufacturing jobs to Mexico.
According to numerous reports, a nonpartisan congressional research report found that not to be true.
Trump says he wants a better trade deal for the American worker, yet to be outlined, with negotiations likely to begin in May following a 90-day consultation period.
If he doesn’t get the deal he wants, Trump has threatened to pull out of the NAFTA agreement.
Future of ag trade
Years of diplomacy, going back to the elder George Bush era, have helped to build strong trade relations with Mexico.
Tough talk is not being received well, with Mexican officials like economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo declaring Mexico would respond “swiftly” to tariffs from Trump.
China, with its population much larger than its ability to produce crops to feed its nation, has long been a strong market for U.S. agriculture, mostly in soybean exports.
Time will tell if this continues.