PMA Mexico meeting to consider Trump effect on trade

The position of the new U.S. administration on global trade and the potential effect of policy changes on Mexican fresh produce exports is to be examined in a keynote address at the Produce Marketing Association's upcoming Mexico Regional Meeting.

The inaugural event, which takes place on March 8 alongside this year's Expo Antad y Alimentaria exhibition in Guadalajara, will bring together executives, entrepreneurs and dignitaries from major growing areas for what organizers describe as a dynamic exchange on the most pressing issues facing Mexico's fresh produce sector.

According to Kathy Means, the PMA's vice president of industry relations, key among topics to be discussed at the gathering will be the new Trump administration and the potential challenges for Mexico's ongoing presence in the country's single largest export market, the U.S.

"This is a time of transition in the U.S. with the new administration and a transition to Republican control of both the House and Senate, so it can be difficult to sort through what will happen and how," said Means.

Although policy ideas that could damage Mexican exports have been floated, from trade to immigration to rolling back regulations, Means said many proposals that were promised on Trump's arrival have had their time frames extended due to the protocols needed for implementation.

This, she said, can be frustrating for importers and exporters that deal with the U.S. and want to understand how the changes could affect their businesses and what opportunities or challenges they could present.

"It can be more frustrating when the information about legislation or regulation or executive orders changes day to day," Means said.

According to the USDA's Economic Research Service, Canada and Mexico remain the U.S.'s largest suppliers of agricultural products ($22.2 billion and $19.3 billion in 2013-15, respectively), with horticultural products comprising a large percentage of the trade among the three countries.