Over the past decade, Mexico has expanded its role as a top grain importer, nearly doubling its combined imports of corn, wheat, and rice over this period. Mexico’s imports are now forecast to slightly exceed those of Japan, which for many years had been the top grain importer.
Greater corn demand to satisfy Mexico’s growing feed sector drives this growth.
Wheat imports have been stimulated by increased use of high-quality bread wheat, in comparison to durum which the country produces (and exports).
Rice imports have also grown as production has not kept pace with rising consumption.
Cumulatively, the United States is the top global supplier of these three major grains and has been the dominant supplier for the Mexican market. In addition to the opportunities provided through NAFTA, the freight and logistical advantages have kept this trade relationship strong.
Even as competition from South American and Black Sea exporters has reduced U.S. market share in other top grain importers, Mexico has proved a generally stable market.
Despite some recent competition in the Mexican market, the prospects continue to remain strong for the United States to be the primary supplier. From October to June, U.S. exports of corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) exceeded the previous year.
In the case of wheat, the U.S. share of imports rebounded from just over half in 2015/16 to nearly three-quarters in 2016/17.
With rice, a strong preference for price-competitive U.S. paddy continues despite the creation of a tariff-rate quota for all types of rice.