AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
- President Donald Trump said over the weekend that Mexico has agreed to make large-scale purchases of farm products in its rush to make a deal with the US.
- But there is no evidence that such a stipulation was agreed to, and officials have denied that it exists.
- Trump’s claim left farmers flummoxed. Mexico recently became the US’s largest trading partner and has long been a top export market for major farm products, including pork and corn.
President Donald Trump has portrayed his agreement with Mexico that officials reached over the weekend as a win for American farmers, arguing that it would lead to large-scale purchases of US agricultural exports. But there is no evidence that such a provision exists.
"MEXICO HAS AGREED TO IMMEDIATELY BEGIN BUYING LARGE QUANTITIES OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS!" Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
The president said on Friday that he would back down on threats to impose tariffs on all Mexican imports after the US ally agreed to accelerate plans to stem the flow of migrants across the southwestern border — which the New York Times reported had been made months earlier. But there was no mention of agricultural purchases in a joint statement issued Friday.
Martha Bárcena Coqui, Mexico’s ambassador to the US, wouldn’t say whether there had been any new deal made on agricultural products on Sunday. She instead pointed to the potential for increased trade following the finalization of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement reached last year, which had been called into question following Trump’s tariff threats.
"It is our understanding that without tariffs and with USMCA ratification, there- there will be an increased rates, both in agricultural products and manufactured products," Bárcena Coqui in an interview on CBS on Sunday.
Several Mexican officials privately denied that an agreement required any such purchases to be made, however, according to Bloomberg. The White House, the State Department, and the Mexican embassy did not respond to emails requesting comment.
Trump claimed in a series of tweets Monday that there was more to the deal reached last week than had already been revealed. But at a news conference the same day, Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard denied that there was any secret deal with the US on immigration.
The White House jumped to claim victory on an agreement to defuse tensions with Mexico reached this weekend after tariff threats drew sharp backlash from business groups and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Trump’s claim that Mexico would increase purchases of American agricultural products, which are largely made by private buyers, left farmers flummoxed. Mexico recently became the US’s largest trading partner and has long been a top export market for major farm products, including pork and corn.
"Red herring," Iowa soybean and corn grower Dave Walton said of Trump’s claim. "I’m not sure what he is trying to say with that statement, but there isn’t a whole lot more upside in Mexico beyond natural market expansion."
Farmers have suffered from protectionist policies levied in the president’s growing trade disputes. American farm exports and prices fell sharply last year after China retaliates against the Trump administration with a tariff on agricultural products.
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