Mexico is ready to take revenge by hurting US farmers

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Anti-Trump protests are taking place all over Mexico

Anti-Trump protests are taking place all over Mexico

Mexico is ready to hit the US where it hurts: corn.

Mexico is now one of the top buyers of American corn worldwide. And Mexican Senator Armando Rios Piter, who heads a congressional foreign affairs committee, said he will present a bill this week that Mexico will buy corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States.

This is one of the first signs of a possible concrete action by Mexico in response to President Trump's threats against the country.

"I will send an invoice for the corn we buy in the Midwest and … move to Brazil or Argentina," said Rios Piter, 43, on Sunday in an anti-Trump protest in Mexico against CNN's Leyla Santiago City ,

He added: "It's a good way to tell them that this hostile relationship has ramifications, I hope it changes."

American corn is used in many of the country's foods. In Mexico City, from upscale restaurants to taco stands, there are favorite corn dishes like tacos everywhere.

Related: Mexican farmer's daughter: NAFTA destroyed us

America is also the world's largest producer and exporter of corn. Deliveries of American corn to Mexico have been catapulted since NAFTA, a free trade agreement between Mexico, America and Canada.

American farmers sent $ 2.4 billion worth of corn to Mexico in 2015, the last year of available data. In 1995, one year after NAFTA came into force, corn exports to Mexico were only $ 391 million.

Experts say that such a calculation would be very expensive for US farmers.

"If there is actually a trade war in which Mexico purchases from Brazil … it will affect the corn market and the rest of the economy," said Darin Newsom, senior analyst at DTN. an agricultural management company.

Rio's Piter's bill is another sign of Mexico's willingness to respond to Trump's threats. Trump wants Mexico to pay for a wall on the border, and threatens taxes on Mexican imports of between 20% and 35%.

Trump also wants to renegotiate NAFTA. He blames it for a flood of manufacturing orders to Mexico. A bipartisan congress report found that this is not the case.

Related: Mexico Doubles on Trump & # 39; Contingency Plan & # 39;

Still, Trump says he wants a better deal for the American worker – even though he hasn't said what a better deal looks like.

All sides signaled two weeks ago that negotiations will begin in May after a 90-day consultation period.

But Trump says that if the negotiations don't carry the deal he wants, he threatens to pull out of NAFTA.

Such tough talks are not well received by Mexican leaders like Rio's Piter. He Is Not Alone Mexican Economics Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in January that Mexico would "immediately" respond to Trump's tariffs.

"It is very clear that we must be ready to immediately neutralize the effects of such a measure," said Guajardo on January 13 in a Mexican news program.

– Shasta Darlington contributed to this story

CNNMoney (Mexico City) First published February 13, 2017: 12:06 p.m. ET