SANTA FE, N.M. — Mexican President Felipe Calderon said Tuesday he’s committed to helping the country’s agricultural industry grow as much as possible in the wake of the United States’ trade dispute with Mexico.
The country has long relied on foreign aid to grow its food sector.
But the trade dispute has led to billions in losses and a sharp decline in the Mexican peso, making it harder for many farmers to make a living.
Calderon said the country has already seen an increase in its exports of vegetables, meat and fruits to the United Kingdom, but has been reluctant to invest in agriculture because of the U.S. trade dispute.
But he said the summit that begins Wednesday will give the country a new opportunity to focus on growing the agricultural sector.
The Mexican president said he’s going to announce that $1 billion in foreign assistance will be earmarked for food and agriculture research and development, agricultural products, education, marketing and research.
He also wants to make investments in the agri-food sector, which will be an area where the United Nations and other donors are looking to increase investment.
The Mexican government has already pledged $100 million in loans for agricultural research.
The $1 million is part of a $50 million investment from the United Nation’s Development Program, which is committed to a range of projects in agricultural research, education and rural development.
Calercon said Mexico will work with the U, UK and other donor countries to identify ways to strengthen cooperation in agriculture, while also encouraging the countries to develop their agricultural industries to grow more efficiently.
He also pledged to help Mexico grow its agricultural exports.
The United States says the Mexican government is blocking access to its markets to U.N. agricultural products.
The U.K. has accused Mexico of withholding goods and cutting off U.C. Davis from U.T. Owen, the U of A professor who researches the agriculture sector, said the U-turn was a good first step.
But he said it needs to be followed up with more concrete proposals.
Owen said Mexico’s latest move to shut down U.U.T.’s lab, the Center for Agricultural Sciences, is likely to spark retaliation from other countries that have been frustrated by the UU’s reluctance to do business with the United states.
Owens research and business are based in the Uruapan region in the western province of Chiapas, and he has been critical of Mexico’s agriculture policies.
The dispute has put the U to the forefront of trade talks between Mexico and the United-American bloc, and has forced Mexico to make tough choices on agricultural policy, such as closing down UU labs and restricting imports of U.P. products.
Owin said Mexico should be doing more to open up markets for U.B.C.’s wheat and corn, which have both seen a sharp fall in demand from Mexico.
He said Mexico can be successful in exporting U.A.P.-grown corn, soybeans and other crops, but it needs better access to UU-grown corn and other U.O. crops.