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The NFU on the impact of NAFTA on Mexico

A recent National Farmers Union media release states, “Canadians need to understand the context of today’s announcement that Mexican citizens will require visas to visit Canada.”

“Since the 1995 implementation of NAFTA, US corn exports to Mexico have quadrupled. These products are flowing south at prices below Mexican farmers’ cost of production, and below the cost of production in the US. Subsidies enable farmers to produce below cost. NAFTA dictates that Mexico must allow this food in. The NAFTA timetable required that on January 1, 2008, Mexico remove its final restrictions on the imports of staple food products—opening its border completely to imports of corn and beans. Mexican farmers have been devastated by low prices for corn and other crops.”

NFU International Coordinator (and Council of Canadians Board member) Martha Robbins says, “A huge portion of Mexican citizens rely on farming to support their families.  Our trade policies—ostensibly aimed at finding ‘markets’ for our grains and meat—have devastated market prices for those Mexican farmers. Bankrupted farmers have been forced from rural areas and into cities. Those cities are increasingly lawless and dangerous—poverty and desperation has fueled the rise of organized crime. Many Mexicans are now trying to escape. Some are coming here. We need to connect the dots. Many of the Mexicans coming to Canada are refugees from NAFTA.”

She adds, “There is irony here. As we are forcing open Mexican borders to our products, we are closing our borders to a significant portion of the Mexican people. We are working to block the flow of people which is, to a significant extent, a result of our work to speed the flow of goods.”

The media release concludes, “The NFU strongly opposes the policy requiring Mexican citizens to have a visa to visit our country.”

NFU media releases can be read at http://www.nfu.ca/press.html.

Thanks to Roy Brady for forwarding this release to me.