Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts asked grain industry officials from Mexico and the United States join him Tuesday for a press conference to highlight the importance of Mexico to U.S. agriculture and how the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has benefited both countries.
“Bilateral trade with Mexico has helped grow agriculture in our state over the years,” said Governor Ricketts. “Mexico is Nebraska’s largest export market for corn, dairy, sugar, and sweeteners, and second largest market for soybeans, wheat, sorghum, and distillers grains. All of this combined accounts for thousands of Nebraska jobs. I’m encouraged by local and national discussions to expand trade, and am committed to helping grow our trade relationship with Mexico so we can continue to grow Nebraska.”
The Nebraska Corn Board, the U.S. Grains Council, and the National Corn Growers Association are hosting a team of Mexican grain and industry officials in Nebraska for a town hall and industry meetings. Approximately 20 percent of U.S. corn and corn co-products are exported and Mexico is the largest market for U.S. corn. In 2016, U.S. corn exports to Mexico totaled 13.3 million metric tons (523.5 million bushels) of corn, valued at $2.5 billion. The U.S. also exported 1.9 million metric tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), a byproduct of ethanol.
“Having these industry leaders here in the United States this week to share how NAFTA has impacted their companies and their country is invaluable to helping us communicate how important strong trade policy with our nearest neighbors is to the continued success of U.S. grain producers and exporters,” said USGC CEO Tom Sleight.
Jon Doggett, NCGA executive vice president and head of public policy, says NAFTA has been a major catalyst for economic growth in the corn industry and Mexico is the largest market for U.S. corn. “We will work closely with the Trump Administration and Congress to build on the successful trade relationship we have with our neighbors in Mexico, and make sure a modernized NAFTA is a win-win for both our countries,” said Doggett, who stresses calling changes in NAFTA “updating” or “modernizing” rather than “renegotiating.”
Listen to the press conference here: Nebraska presser on trade with Mexico