Aha! Now it turns out President Donald Trump’s trade policies against nefarious Mexico is not just one of sticks, but also of carrots.
Last Friday U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue visited the Yucatan where he held a gathering with Mexico’s Agriculture (Sagarpa) Secretary José Calzada and guess what? Mr. Perdue said that besides Trump’s worldwide infamous wall along the U.S. Mexico border (sticks), The Donald wants to create a new bracero program (or something along those lines), which “would provide [Mexican] citizens the opportunity to work, float freely, seasonally, temporarily, into the U.S. and come back to their families and homeland here.”
The truth of the matter nowadays is that Trump’s threats against Mexicans are not a one sided approach to bi-national politics but have two faces and the other face is Mexico.
Trump sold a sector of U.S. voters the idea that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) “the worst deal ever negotiated” by the United States, but if we go by what Secretary Perdue said last Friday at a hacienda in the Abalá municipality near Mérida, maybe NAFTA is not, after all the trash talking about it by Trump, such a bad deal.
“We understand that the agriculture sectors both in the U.S. and in Mexico have benefited tremendously under the rules of NAFTA.”
The fact is that Trump right along with Mexico, nervous for a few months, had U.S. farmers trembling as an assortment of competitors arose from all the nations that Mexico holds free trade agreements with. In particular, the U.S. yellow corn agriculture would suffer disastrously without NAFTA. U.S. yellow corn sales to Mexico have grown from $4 to $18.5 billion between 1994 and 2017.
Also, the illegal presence of Mexican farmhands works as a subsidy on the part of Mexico for U.S. farmers doing jobs most Americans no longer do as they move up the social scale into more sophisticated types of labor.
Unlike Trump who is still sneering at NAFTA (do your thing and keep putting on a show, Donald, as Schwarzenegger told him), the truth of the matter is that the much cherished dream of many red neck gringos to get rid of Mexico (and Mexican beaners, of course) is not going to happen, not ever.
Perdue said “We understand that the agriculture sectors both in the U.S. and in Mexico have benefited tremendously under the rules of NAFTA,” but the U.S. government is clear on the fact that “We know, frankly, that U.S. manufacturing has not,” he added. “How we reconcile those two will remain to be seen.”
And he capped his speech with an animosity soothing none:
“We hope we can do it without diminishing the beneficial impact that NAFTA has had on the agricultural sector,” he said.
But the real surprise here is the carrot itself. This was prime source news if they are to be true ,as at long last the terror trip for many an undocumented farm worker between home in Mexico and work in a U.S. farm could be over.
Excelsior newspaper informed that in checking with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City over the potential farmhands hiring program the officials said “that came to us as a bit of a surprise; I don’t know if the secretaries are referring to an already existing program which is managed out of Monterrey.”
But such a new Bracero Program (bracero is for brazos, arms, meaning farm laborers) would be a welcome part as a parallel agreement within NAFTA because nothing of that kind existed in the 1994 version and it would also mean the opening of the United States to ending up the bureaucratic quagmire they have placed to impede needed workers who just want to make a buck in the United States and come and enjoy it in Mexico where their money and labor is worth more.
In any case, let this announcement not come, as a surprise as have many others, because in the end Mexico is not just to walk away from the American continent and the United States can’t oversee the ever growing agricultural demand from Mexicans who enjoy having a corner store just across the border.