This Tuesday morning, Mexican Secretary of Agriculture José Antonio Calzada sat down for breakfast with Argentina’s Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra. What was on the table? The beginnings of a soy trade agreement possibly.
Given Trump’s trade tension with Mexico, Calzada is looking for alternative producers to purchase soy from. Argentina, the first country to reach out to Mexico after Trump’s trade restrictions, is at the top of the list.
Calzada states, “I would like to see the possibility of buying soy, to have a new option, provided that [the soy] is cheaper and the same quality from the United States… we can buy from other countries without a problem.”
Argentina’s is the top exporter of soy (okay, soybean meal to be exact) in the world, bringing in about 12 billion US dollars a year. The largest importers, however, are not from Latin America. Mexico currently purchases 5 million tons of soy a year, 92 percent of which comes from the United States. If Mexico stops purchasing soy from the United States, that could mean huge business for Argentina.
And that’s not all. Mexico purchases 10 million tons of corn from the US annually. Following the same logic, Argentina may be in a position to export its “yellow, high quality” corn to Mexico, too.
Mexico, though, is keeping its soy options open, and plans to meet with other favorable exporters, including Brazil, Japan, Korea, China, Russia, and the European Union. Argentina seems to be cozy-ing up to its Mexican “neighbor,” likely to fill this particular trading niche the US had previously held with Mexico. Given this first meeting, Argentina’s ambitious phoned support last week and capacity for soy production, things could be looking up for Argentine exporters.