U.S.-Mexico Trade:

Trends and Impediments in Agricultural Trade

NSIAD-90-85BR: Published: Jan 12, 1990. Publicly Released: Feb 14, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information about the extent of agricultural trade between the United States and Mexico, focusing on: (1) the value of agricultural trade from 1982 to 1988; (2) economic trends affecting agricultural trade; and (3) principal obstacles to agricultural trade.

GAO found that: (1) U.S.-Mexican agricultural trade increased from $2.3 billion in 1982 to $4 billion in 1988, with Mexican exports growing steadily, and U.S. exports widely fluctuating, reflecting Mexican harvest conditions, adverse Mexican economic conditions, and the availability of U.S. export credit guarantees; (2) the United States exported such bulk commodities as corn and soybeans to Mexico, while Mexico exported tropical products and specialty crops to the United States; (3) Mexican growers complained that their exports were subject to excessive U.S. plant and animal health regulations and that U.S. tariffs on certain crops were too high; (4) the United States believed that Mexico's continued reliance on import licensing requirements was inconsistent with certain provisions of trade and tariff agreements; (5) Mexican horticultural producers' limited participation in crop marketing and distribution and U.S. producers' lack of knowledge of the Mexican marketing and distribution system constrained trade expansion; (6) transportation problems and infrastructure constraints at the border and in Mexico served as obstacles to trade expansion; (7) Mexico's significant external debt limited its demand for U.S. agricultural exports and its funding for agricultural development; and (8) an October 1989 U.S.-Mexican agreement sought to improve bilateral technical and administrative assistance programs, marketing, inspection and research systems, data collection and economic analysis, and research programs.

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