MEXICO CITY, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Mexican corn producers Tuesday called on their government to limit imports of the grain in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations.
Juan Pablo Rojas, president of Mexican National Federation of Corn Farmers, said that the 2.7 million corn producers in the country had the capacity to supply enough produce for local companies, which now import a large number of the grain from the United States.
"We have no purpose to produce more corn each year and have nowhere to sell it, because large national consumers already make their purchases on the international market," said Rojas at a press conference.
According to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, Mexico buys far more corn from the United States than Brazil, taking 14.7 million tons in 2017 and estimating more this year.
Rojas expressed his worry that more corn imports from the United States will increase local costs in the long term.
"If you replace the imports of corn from the United States with those from Brazil, Argentina and other countries, the price will be more expensive and this will lead to a price increase of tortillas in Mexico," he said.
The seventh round of NAFTA talks began here Sunday and runs through March 5, but it's looking increasingly likely that negotiators are digging in for the long haul.