Beer is Mexico’s top agricultural export to the United States. And Mexico purchases more U.S. barley to brew that beer than from any other market.
A team of Mexican brewing industry leaders is traveling in North Dakota and Montana this week to call attention to the policy that made this mutually beneficial trading relationship possible – the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The team – organized by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee and the North Dakota Barley Council – includes representatives from internationally recognizable beer brands as well as Mexico’s largest craft breweries and industry representatives.
“We welcome our guests and customers to the heart of barley country,” said Kimberly Atkins, USGC vice president and chief operating officer. “NAFTA is critical to the U.S. barley industry’s success and an important story of interdependence to share with our farmers and agricultural industry here at home.”
The terms of NAFTA allow U.S. barley and malt to enter Mexico duty-free, providing a competitive advantage that has fostered an increased integration of the value chains for U.S. barley and malt and Mexican brewing industries.
Mexico purchased more than 680,000 metric tons (31.2 million bushels) of barley valued at $220 million over the last 10 marketing years. In turn, these exports generated $48 million in additional economic activity through the grain supply chain.
The team will discuss how U.S. barley and malt can continue to meet growing demand in this top market at the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo, North Dakota. Team members will also educate U.S. representatives on the importance of NAFTA to industries on both sides of the border in meetings at the Montana Ag Summit in Great Falls, Montana.
“The Mexican brewing industry is strong customer for U.S. barley producers, thanks to the preferential trade terms in NAFTA and 3 decades of work by USGC,” Atkins said. “In this growing and increasingly competitive market, the market access and tariff benefits U.S. barley producers have under NAFTA must be preserved.”