- Title: Anger in Mexican sugar cane fields, harbinger of NAFTA risks
- Date: 4th June 2017
- Summary: ZACATEPEC, MEXICO (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WORKERS CUTTING SUGAR CANE STALKS HEAVY MACHINERY LIFTING SUGAR CANE STALKS ONTO THE BACK OF A TRUCK
- Embargoed: 18th June 2017 21:23
- Keywords: NAFTA trade Narciso Hernandez Mexico sugar Ildefonso Guajardo Samuel Montes sugar cane United States
- Location: ZACATEPEC, MORELOS STATE; MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- City: ZACATEPEC, MORELOS STATE; MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Commodities Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA0026JV5DTZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Anger is simmering across a lush swathe of Mexico among poor sugar cane farmers who face a major blow from trade talks in Washington on Monday (June 5), in an ominous preview of the high-stakes re-negotiation of the NAFTA agreement set to begin in August.
The United States and Mexico have until Monday to modify a 2014 agreement that set quotas and a price floor on Mexican sugar.
U.S. sugar refiners say Mexico's exports are subsidized, undercutting their business and that the agreement failed to stop dumping.
A new deal could significantly reduce access to the lucrative U.S. market for some 190,000 Mexican farmers, a fifth of whose sugar last year was sold to U.S. buyers, and risks triggering tit-for-tat tariffs that could hurt U.S. corn.
With 2.4 million people estimated to earn livelihoods from sugar across 15 states in Mexico, the spat may also serve as an example of the political minefield the government will face in broader trade talks later this year that could affect jobs in the thriving manufacturing sector.
U.S. President Donald Trump triggered the 90-day start to NAFTA re-negotiations last month, following up on his longstanding criticism of the 23-year-old free trade pact between the United States, Mexico and Canada, arguing it is unfair to American workers and must be reworked.
Feeling used by the government, Mexican cane farmers are fuming, further eroding already flagging support for Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, ahead of a 2018 presidential vote, just as a leftist nationalist is making inroads into its traditional bastions.
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