The case of NAFTA in the Mexican countryside

The case of NAFTA in the Mexican countryside

By Janet Ruiz - José Martínez

The application of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in Mexico gives rise to important experiences that allow us to glimpse the situation that the rest of Latin American nations would go through if they entered free trade agreements.

The lessons of transnationalization: the case of NAFTA in the Mexican countryside

The application of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) [1] in Mexico gives rise to important experiences that allow us to glimpse the situation that the rest of Latin American nations would go through if they entered free trade agreements.

In this essay, the impact that the application of the agricultural section of NAFTA has had on the Mexican countryside in the last 10 years is evaluated from a critical perspective.

The first part shows the dimension of the crisis in the Mexican countryside from the application of NAFTA. For this, the figures on the stagnation –with a tendency to decrease- of the harvested area of ​​five basic products are shown; corn, rice, wheat, soybeans and beans. Such stagnation has been the result of large grain imports from the United States. With this phenomenon, the monopolization of the agri-food sector in the hands of a few companies that control seeds, agrochemicals, food production and marketing has accelerated. The social effects for the Mexican countryside have not been long in coming, and have been reflected in: the increase in migration to the United States and the country's large urban centers, and the increase in unemployment, poverty and hunger.

In the second part, it is explained how the United States strengthens actions that are contrary to the discourse of letting the free market work. With the agricultural law issued in May 2002, the government of that country made the agri-food sector a factor of political domination, by adopting deeply protectionist measures -such as high subsidies- under which North American agribusinesses will liquidate their customers with extreme ease. Latin American “competitors”.

1. NAFTA and the crisis in the Mexican countryside

The entry into NAFTA was the most important decision in terms of public policy that the Mexican State adopted for the field in the last decade.

The immediate result of its application has been evidenced in phenomena such as: the loss of the domestic market for national agricultural production, the loss of agricultural jobs, the deterioration of the working conditions of the workers of the agro-export companies, and the dismemberment of the subsistence peasant economy [2].

Three years ago in the development of the movement "The countryside cannot hold on anymore", part of this crisis was explained in the following terms: "The catastrophe of the countryside is a true national emergency. Imports of white and yellow corn, with minimum tariffs of 3% and 1% respectively, are ruining the purely commercial producers of the Northwest who cannot sell, but they also devalue the surpluses of the most modest milperos and discourage even the production of self-consumption , leaving a balance of around three million affected producers. The sugarcane agribusiness is in crisis, as the United States does not accept the agreed imports, claiming other agreements, while the high fructose sweetener displaces cane sugar as an input for bottled soft drinks. The entry of rice at prices of dumping has bankrupt the rice farmers. The entry of canned pineapple hits the national harvesters of Oaxaca and Veracruz. And the same happens with milk and meat production, beset by imported dairy dust and the entry of Central American cattle, and with poultry farmers displaced by the entry of waste chicken meat from the United States, not to mention the problems afflicting asparagus, sorgueros and beans. If to this general agricultural debacle we add the dismantling of peasant coffee farming, which supports nearly 400 thousand producers, and considering a few pinches it feeds about three million people, it will be necessary to recognize that we are facing a maximum emergency ”[3].

NAFTA legalized the United States' claim to have a large Latin American market, starting with Mexico, for the sale of its agricultural surpluses. Since the negotiation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) began, the United States fought for trade liberalization, the dismantling of tariff barriers in the agricultural sector, and the deregulation of international agricultural flows. Their production capacity was higher than their internal consumption capacity and, in a long-term perspective, the increase in productivity would make said surplus grow, therefore they required permanent markets for their agri-food exports.

Mexico is currently the third most important market for the sale of US agricultural products [4]. Almost 90% of Mexican exports go to the northern country, and 75% of imports come from there. Trade with Canada, which is the other NAFTA partner, has been very weak; during the first eight years of the treaty it was only 2% of Mexico's total foreign trade [5]. "In less than a decade, Mexican exports to the United States went from a very high 70% to an overwhelming 90%" [6]. In theory, NAFTA has been guided by the demand to liberalize the agricultural market in the three countries (Canada, the United States and Mexico), for this it has insisted on the need to dismantle all kinds of regulations. However, in practice the United States has reserved the right to maintain various types of support and subsidies for the production of its agricultural companies [7].

Dismantling regulations has meant for Mexico, the suppression of the institutional, legal and financial scaffolding for the field. Public spending for the sector fell by 53% in real terms from 1990 to 2003, and credit contracted by about 80% [8]. And the companies and institutions that provided some technical and financial support to the sector (Conasupo, Fertimex, the National Agricultural Insurance), were privatized. Agricultural subsidies came to an end and tariffs on food imports were abolished [9].

With NAFTA, Mexico promised not to establish controls, obligations or codes of conduct for transnational capital. Which implies, the granting of national treatment to transnationals, the non-establishment of quotas or quantitative limits on the importation of products, the elimination of performance requirements that forced transnational companies to hire a percentage of the national workforce, the disappearance of the requirement to reinvest profits, and the obligation for transnationals to provide information on their capital flows abroad [10].

NAFTA marks a new stage in the liberalization process that had been taking place since the eighties with Mexico's entry into the GATT, when the country began to open up to food imports. In 1982 the prices of agricultural inputs (energy, fertilizers, machinery) had been liberalized. In 1988, there was the abolition of guarantee prices that operated as a kind of insurance for agricultural production. In 1992, article 27 of the National Constitution of 1915 was amended, which left the space open for the privatization of ejido lands, and eliminated the right to land for peasants [11]. The reform of article 27 modified the maximum limits of land tenure in private hands, -the mercantile companies by shares are authorized by the New Agrarian Law to own land areas that fluctuate between 2,500 hectares of irrigation and up to 20,000 hectares of forest . Likewise, mercantile companies will be able to appropriate ejidal and communal lands to a greater extent than the equivalent of 25 times the limits of small individual property-, and gave way to the dismantling of the ejido as a communal system of land use, dividing into two types the lands of the ejidos; communal lands and parcelable lands, the latter being privatizable. The reform serves two purposes: on the one hand, it ends the obligation of the State to provide land to the peasants, and on the other, it frees the ejidos to be converted into private property and latifundia.

Food imports and the stagnation of the grain and forage harvest

During the first seven years of NAFTA, Mexico became a food-importing country. In 1995 3,254 million dollars were imported, and 3,835 million dollars were exported, in 2001 imports reached 7,415 million dollars and exports 5,267 million dollars. In these years, an agricultural trade balance of 581 million dollars in favor went from a notably deficit balance of 2,148 million dollars.

Between 1990 and 2000, imports of the ten staple crops increased by 112%, from 8.7 to 18.5 million tonnes [12].

The entry into force of NAFTA triggered imports. While in the 1987-1993 period 52 million tons were imported, with the entry of NAFTA, between 1994-1999 90 million tons were imported. The most serious case was that of corn, which, from 17 million tons imported between 1987-1993, went to 30 million tons imported between 1994-1999 [13].

The few beneficiaries of NAFTA have been the beer and tequila agribusinesses, the producers and packers of tropical vegetables and fruits for export, the importers of meat and grains (Maseca and Minsa) and the soft drink industry. Maseca and Minsa, in particular, have benefited widely since 1994, when President Carlos Salinas suspended the collection of tariffs, allowing them to import large quantities of corn. The big losers from this decision were the eighteen million peasants who saw prices fall by 45%.

The following table shows the evolution in the harvested area of ​​five basic products, between 1991 and 2001.

Source: SAGARPA. Agricultural Information System for Consultation (SIACON) 1980-2001.

The data in the table show a marked trend towards a reduction in the area of ​​crops such as corn, beans, soybeans and wheat as of 1994, which is when NAFTA begins to take effect. Rice cultivation shows large fluctuations between 96 and 97, when the harvested area increases, and 2000 and 2001 when more than 30,000 hectares are reduced for its cultivation.

Between 1994 and 2001, more than 300,000 ha of corn, more than 380,000 ha of beans, more than 200,000 ha of soybeans, and more than 280,000 ha of wheat stopped being cultivated. The harvested area of ​​these five products, instead of increasing along with population growth and subsequent demands for food, was reduced by 1,300,000 hectares.

Imports of grains and cereals are those that have had the greatest boom with the application of NAFTA. Thus, US corn exports to Mexico have multiplied three times since NAFTA came into force, thus, Mexico's food dependency is as follows: 50% in wheat, 43% in sorghum [14] , 50% in rice, 30% in corn, and 95% in oilseeds [15]. Not counting that in milk it is 20% and in meat 40%.

The NAFTA that was signed under the promise of encouraging the creation of productive, stable and better-paid jobs, of increasing the real income of workers, and of generating well-being for all of Mexico, has achieved the opposite. Only in the agricultural sector, the crises of rice [16], sugar [17], coffee [18], beans, corn, and grains in general, have generated the loss of numerous jobs.

While in agriculture the dependence on imported food becomes more notable, in industrial matters the formation of enclave sectors and regions is deepening. The oil sector and the maquiladora regions in the north of the country continue to concentrate Mexican exports. Between two branches of economic activity (machinery and equipment, and oil), 71.3% of the country's total exports are concentrated ”[19]. 50% of the manufacturing sector is made up of maquilas, which represent more than 43% of exports, and 80% of them are carried out by 300 large companies [20].

Thus, while Mexico maintains economic dynamism based on the exports of transnational companies, it suffers from a stagnation of the internal market. Mexico exports more and more, but those exports have fewer and fewer Mexican. The content of the products that are exported does not have a major impact on the national productive chains, since these products are made with imported raw materials. “Most of the inputs incorporated in what we export are imported previously. Proof of all this is that the non-maquiladora manufacturing industry, which at the beginning of the eighties had a national content greater than 90%, by the second half of the nineties it only used a little more than 35% "[ twenty-one].

While private investment and exports from Mexico have increased, since Mexico exports twice what it exported in 1993 (US $ 61 billion in 1994; US $ 158 billion in 2001) and private investment has multiplied three times times in the same period in 1993 (US $ 4.5 billion per year on average between 1988-1993; US $ 13 billion per year on average between 1994-2002). Amabas, investments and exports, correspond to the great impulse of maquila, that is, to a form of work that is subordinate to the production chain that is under the control of the large transnational companies.

Those who defend NAFTA because of the boost given to the export sector, are deceiving themselves by not observing that the export boom is mainly that of the maquiladoras, and that imports have grown more than exports.

The transnationalization of the countryside

With the signing of NAFTA, Mexico lost its food sovereignty, because it stopped producing the basic foods that its population requires to buy them "whatever the market conditions", or rather, from the companies that control the marketing of food worldwide: Cargill, Clayton, Anderson, Pilgrims, Pride, Continental, among others.

Through agri-food projects, transnational companies have imposed the paradigm of agricultural production based on monoculture [22]. In the light of which a significant number of lands in Latin American nations have been converted into agro-industrial latifundia. Cereal crops such as sorghum, soybeans and rice stand out in Argentina and Brazil; grape and apple in Chile; of bananas, sugar cane and oil palm in Colombia; of bananas in Ecuador, among others. In these cases, there is a great impact on the soils, since they are subjected to deep wear and tear and the loss of their natural nutrients, because greater amounts of agrochemicals are increasingly needed to ensure that the soils produce crops.

This model copied from the North American green revolution, has only generated profits for companies that produce agrochemicals. The use of pesticides at the piece rate in Latin America caused not only imbalances in the field, but also serious effects on the health [23] of the population.

A few transnationals have taken over the food production chain, controlling the ownership of seed, agrochemical and food companies. In 2001, the 10 largest agrochemical companies (Bayer, Syngenta, Monsanto, Basf, Dow, Dupont and others) controlled 90% of the world market, for their part Nestlé, Kraft, Foods, ConAgra, Pepsico, Unilever, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Coca Cola, Diageo, and Mars Inc. controlled 34% of the global food and beverage market, and Dupont, Monsanto, Syngenta, Groupe Limagrain, Savia, Advanta, Delta & Pine Land, Dow, Bayer and Basf controlled 30% of the world seed market. In 2000, five transnationals controlled more than 75% of the world grain trade. Currently, three companies have eaten up the others and dominate the market: Cargill, Bungi and Dreyfus [24].

The process of monopolization of the productive structure has been intensive, even within the United States, where “at the end of the Second World War there were 6 million farming families, today they do not reach 2 million. Every week for 50 years, more than 4 thousand families have gone bankrupt due to monopolies. Cargill, ADM, Dreyfus and Bunge have bought and divided the territory so as not to compete with each other, in such a way that in each county farmers only find one buyer who imposes very low prices on them. On the other hand, the same companies have bought almost all the stores that sell supplies and have made strategic alliances with the biotechnology and agrochemical industry. Input prices are too high and crop prices are too low ”[25].

Agro-food dependency; unemployment, migration and hunger

The warning about the loss of food sovereignty, was formulated from various sectors, among them, the peasants organized in the movement "the field can not stand it anymore", who stated in the "Manifesto of Ciudad Juárez" that: "Dislocate our agricultural production , orienting it to produce only for export and making the diet of our people depend on imports from the United States, controlled by a few transnational companies, is to accept the mother of defeats: that of our people's food "[26] .

In the current phase of the capitalist accumulation process, "food ceases to be an economic pillar of the internal accumulation process, to become a political factor of world domination" [27]. With a view to strengthening its dominance over the various nations of the world, the United States allocates enormous amounts of resources to finance the production of its farmers and agribusinesses. These resources allow them to place production on the market, even at lower costs than production. According to Rosset, “the domestic price of wheat in the United States is 40% below the cost of production, and that of corn by 20%. This prices dumping They are imposed internationally and allow the placement of exportable surpluses from the northern country. With this, they break the competition capacity of the purchasing countries and impose a structural crisis on them, while the price remains artificially low for long periods ”[28].

The operation that the United States government has been carrying out, together with the transnational companies in the food sector, is to produce and sell "at a loss" for a period, after which the food producers of the rest of the nations have gone bankrupt. , to then impose their prices under monopoly conditions. Under these circumstances, Mexico entered a commercial area in which its possibilities to compete are uncertain. Because its major partner, the United States, has protected the production and market of US agribusinesses, who have a technological infrastructure that guarantees high levels of productivity. In the United States, 25% of the beneficiaries of the subsidies are large agro-industrial entrepreneurs and they receive 75% of the total subsidy budget, 50% of the potential beneficiaries made up of small and medium-sized farmers do not participate in the subsidies. While in Mexico it takes 18 days of a man's work to produce a ton of corn, in the United States, 1.2 hours of a man's work are enough to produce the same amount of corn. In the United States, labor productivity is one hundred times higher than in Mexico. The United States produces 3.5 times more kilograms of corn per hectare, and three times more kilograms of beans, than Mexico.

Mexican agriculture, occupied preferentially (almost 80%) in basic grains such as corn, beans, rice, fodder and oilseeds, has notable disadvantages in the production of basic grains, since the subsidy package of the United States is very high, and substantially reduces the production costs of its agribusinesses. During 2002, the budget for the agricultural sector in the United States was 118,000 million dollars, while in Mexico it barely reached 3,500 million dollars [29]. These, among other differences, allow us to infer the great inequalities in which the Mexican countryside must “compete”.

The increase in food imports has had an impact on the worsening of poverty in the countryside. The Mexican countryside is populated by 25 million people, of which 80% are poor, only half of this population produces some surpluses that it takes to the market, which are ceasing to be produced because there are no conditions that ensure a minimum profitability. “According to the latest agricultural census, nine out of ten farmers are, to a greater or lesser extent, self-consumptive, and of these, only 4 also go to the market with some surpluses. Mexican agriculture is made up of some 4.5 million production units, of which 3 million correspond to the reformed sector (ejidatarios or comuneros) and the rest are private owners. Of the latter, only about 15,000 have large companies, which account for almost half the value of rural production, and perhaps another 150,000 have small companies. The rest are subsistence smallholdings, purely self-sufficient or partially commercial. Of these, less than a third generate sufficient agricultural income to live, and more than half obtain most of their income from activities carried out outside their plot ”[30].

Poverty (in 1984 there were 14.2 million poor in the countryside, in 1992 there were 18.9 million) has driven the peasant population to the cities and to the United States. Migration from the countryside to urban centers averages about 500,000 people annually (50% of them to the United States).

“The difference in income per inhabitant between the poorest states (Chiapas and Oaxaca) and the richest (Federal District) reached 6.1 times in 2000. Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero are located at the national level as the states that have a higher percentage of their population in a situation of indigence, greater than 70%. These regions remain producers of agricultural and mining raw materials, increasingly poorly paid in the national and international market, and as providers of natural resources, electricity and oil (Chiapas, Tabasco and Veracruz), for which they do not receive compensation equitable economic support that sustains its development [31]. In Chiapas, 70% of the population lives in extreme poverty, 80% of the rural population lives in poverty, and more than 50% in extreme poverty.

The foregoing tends to accentuate the formation of “developed and underdeveloped” regions, which are articulated through relations of exploitation and transfer from the latter to the former, stronger and more capitalized.

While the reports of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) insist on the need to eradicate hunger [32] in less developed countries, Mexican governments emphasize abandoning policies to support the countryside . “More than 10 million Mexicans go to bed hungry. The degree of malnutrition is extremely high, since more than 70% of the population has a caloric intake of less than one thousand kilocalories per day. Simoes Lopes, FAO director, reported in 2002 that 17.7% of Mexicans under the age of five are malnourished, and 27% suffer from anemia. The highest percentage of undernourished live in rural areas, which is a paradox, since the peasants are the ones who produce food and yet they lack it ”[33].

Since 1994, the year in which the FTA enters into force, the major operations of the US border patrol have increased, more walls are built and migrants are diverted to inhospitable regions, in the last ten years 10,000 Mexicans have died trying to cross a border. A border in which there is a growing militarization and paramilitarization - in states like Arizona there are civilian groups that, protected by state laws, are dedicated to “hunting migrants”.

Spending in the US to control its borders increased from US $ 967 million in 1993 to US $ 2.56 billion in 1999. In the same period, the number of border agents doubled to reach 9,000.

The migration of the unemployed from the countryside leads to a notable increase in urban unemployment and therefore sets a trend towards lower wages. This decrease is reflected in turn in the reduction of the consumption possibilities of workers, which has evident effects on the basic food basket of families. Thus, the crisis in the Mexican countryside is not a crisis that exclusively affects the peasantry, but is a crisis with negative consequences for the majority of Mexicans.

II. The "Farm Bill 2002-2011" law and subsidies for agricultural production in the United States

While Mexico obediently abides by NAFTA and openness policies, the United States strengthens its institutional and financial framework to support and protect its agricultural production.

On May 13, 2002, President Bush signed the “Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002” or the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act, also known as the Farm Bill. "This $ 4.248.6 billion bill increased subsidies to US agriculture by 80%, compared to the Farm Bill of 1996." [34] These large budgets are based on the Farm Law of 1862, which established the American agricultural-technological system, and above all, from the Farm Law of 1933, which established the support guarantee price system that continues in force until the Farm Act of 2002- 2011 ”[35].

This law mainly addresses eight crops: cotton, wheat, corn, soybeans, rice, barley, oats and sorghum, and is part of “the strategy of weakening the United States' world competitors, especially, the European Union and the agro-exporting countries of nations of medium industrialization ”[36].

The Farm Bill articulates the set of norms and programs aimed at the agricultural sector, “it is synchronized and exceeds in terms of objectives and support, with other relative regulations such as:“ Food Safety Act ”(1985),“ National Agricultural Law ”and“ Federal Law for the Reform and Improvement of Agriculture ”(1996, both),“ Basic Products Credit Corporation ”,“ Market Access Program ”,“ Export Improvement Program ”,“ Dairy Export Incentive Program ” , and "Emerging Markets Program", all derived from the aforementioned legislation of 1996, known as Farm Act 1996 ... The Farm Bill is made up of 10 different programs, with a duration of six years, highlighting those related to subsidies and other agricultural support, conservation of natural resources, environment and trade ”[37].

In part, by making use of World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations, the United States maintains a high subsidy component. Thus, they structure programs such as Commodities, in which three types of fiscal support are grouped: direct fixed payments, loans for market promotions, and target prices or coverage prices or countercyclical payments.

The first, which are direct payments, consist of fixed payments to the producer corresponding to 85% of the cultivated area in the ranges established for each product, from 2002 to 2007. This is a constant subsidy that extends from from the “Farm Bill” to oilseed, soy and peanut crops.

The latter consist of payments that are granted under the fixed average price scheme ( loan rate) and their purpose is to ensure the producer the receipt of a loan deficiency payment (LPDs), “which is nothing more than the difference between an average fixed price and the estimated local market price. If the second is lower than the first, the producer accedes to the difference through a direct payment. This program was extended to crops of dry legumes (chickpeas, lentils, etc.), honey, wool, mohair and peanuts ”[38].

Third parties, “counter-cyclical payments, constitute a new type of support or subsidy, an unprecedented program, which is accessed when the effective price that farmers receive falls below a certain target price… This support mechanism constitutes a kind of protection network and income certainty for producers, which isolates them from the real market process, that is, if the real average price is below the target price, they receive the difference, adding that the latter increase from period to period. other ”[39].

“Los pagos fijos directos y los pagos contracíclicos no están ligados a la producción –supuestamente, porque en realidad están vinculados a áreas cultivadas y rendimientos históricos- y se ofrecen aún cuando el productor decida dejar de cultivar sus tierras por toda la temporada. Los pagos se basan en una fórmula matemática, que toma en cuenta las hectáreas cultivadas en años anteriores, y el historial de rendimiento de cada finca, de tal manera que siguen siendo ligados, de hecho, aunque de manera encubierta, a la productividad”[40].

Estos apoyos y pagos directos a los agroempresarios son subvenciones directas a las exportaciones, lo que favorece la comercialización de sus productos internacionalmente, por debajo de su costo de producción, perjudicando a los productores de naciones en desarrollo en un doble sentido: impidiendo su acceso competitivo a los mercados industrializados, y generando una competencia desleal en los mercados en desarrollo. A través de este conjunto de apoyos, los agroempresarios estadounidenses podrán elevar al máximo sus ingresos, y la forma de hacerlo es exportando a precios de dumping a todo el mundo, es decir, inundando los mercados sin ninguna consecuencia negativa para ellos.

Los Estados Unidos han establecido con la expedición de la nueva ley agraria, un sólido sistema de protección de su agricultura, que tiene como objetivo dominar el mercado mundial sacando del camino a los demás competidores, sean estos europeos, japoneses o del tercer mundo.

¿Qué Estado está en capacidad de competir con los subsidios que brindan los Estados Unidos?, en la respuesta a este cuestionamiento parece residir lo que será el futuro de los países que producen alimentos para el mercado mundial. Tanto los países desarrollados, como los países subdesarrollados deberán constituir un bloque de oposición en el seno de la OMC, con el fin de lograr que los Estados Unidos no se siga amparando en los subsidios proteccionistas. O deberán hacer uso del mismo mecanismo para que su producción agropecuaria pueda competir en el mercado nacional e internacional. Ante esta posibilidad, el Congreso Agrario Permanente ha objetado que: “aunque lográramos equiparar proporcionalmente nuestro presupuesto agropecuario con el de Estados Unidos, ello no contrarrestaría los efectos acumulados de los agresivos presupuestos estadounidenses a lo largo de más de 100 años sobre la capitalización de las granjas y sobre su tecnificación.

De no producirse una oposición sólida a escala global, los Estados Unidos se estarían asegurando el monopolio mundial en la producción de alimentos básicos (carnes, lácteos, granos y cereales), con los consabidos riesgos para la seguridad alimentaria del resto del mundo.

El “Farm Bill 2002” en su programa de apoyos económicos, tiende a reforzar las enormes ventajas que Estados Unidos tiene hoy con México en granos básicos, revertir las desventajas en una serie de oleaginosas, y ampliar su éxito en productos agroindustriales de ganadería diversa y avicultura, lo que refuerza globalmente los términos muy favorables de la división internacional del trabajo conformada en el capítulo agropecuario del TLCAN”[41].

La OMC ha clasificado los subsidios que pueden otorgar los Estados al productor en cuatro tipos: los permitidos (caja verde), los prohibidos (caja roja), los que deben disminuirse (caja ámbar) y los de excepción (caja azul).

Según la legislación de la OMC, los subsidios de la caja verde (permitidos), no deben involucrar apoyo a los precios, ni deben distorsionar el comercio, y si lo hacen, deben causar una distorsión mínima. Estos subsidios deben apoyar programas que no están dirigidos a productos particulares, sino, al sector de producción en conjunto, e incluyen las subvenciones directas al ingreso de los agricultores, disociadas de los niveles corrientes de producción o de precios, y de los pagos por concepto de aseguramiento del ingreso y por concepto de la red de seguridad. La red de seguridad, es la garantía de un nivel mínimo de ingreso para los agricultores frente a la caída de precios en el mercado más allá de cierto límite. También se incluyen en esta caja los programas de protección ambiental y de desarrollo regional.

“Esta es la caja más importante desde el punto de vista de las posibilidades de diseñar una política que apoye al sector rural, al margen de criterios no domésticos y cumpliendo con objetivos de protección de la población ocupada en el agro y de la protección de los recursos naturales usados para la producción”[42].

Los subsidios de la caja verde, han sido muy usados por los Estados Unidos para otorgar apoyos a su producción agropecuaria, y burlar así a sus socios y competidores comerciales. La forma en que otorga subsidios los Estados Unidos, contradice lo estipulado en “la caja verde”, ya que a todas luces dichos subsidios y apoyos distorsionan el comercio en enormes dimensiones.

Los Estados Unidos fueron, durante el periodo 1998-2000, el tercer país en otorgar subvenciones por productor, después de Suiza y Japón. Así, mientras los Estados Unidos subsidian con 20.803 dólares a cada productor, México apenas alcanza para el mismo período 720 dólares por cada productor.

En estos términos, es claro que el actual proceso de globalización capitalista, gobernada por la normatividad de la OMC, el FMI y el Banco Mundial, no busca beneficiar a las diversas economías del mundo, sino favorecer a las compañías de los países más poderosos e industrializados del mundo.


El ingreso de México en el TLCAN, ha traído graves consecuencias para los pequeños y medianos productores agropecuarios, entre ellas, el desbarajuste y la destrucción de sus modos de vida y de sustento. El incremento en las migraciones y la miseria en el campo, es el resultado más evidente de la apertura comercial y del abandono de las políticas públicas para el campo. La apertura comercial se traduce en la entrega de la soberanía alimentaria a las grandes empresas transnacionales, las cuales monopolizan aceleradamente la producción de alimentos en el mundo. El dominio que las compañías transnacionales tienden a profundizar sobre el proceso productivo de la cadena agroalimentaria, les permite: apropiarse de las semillas que han sido un valor de uso colectivo de los pueblos, cobrar por contaminación, -en los casos en que las semillas transgénicas invaden los cultivos plantados con las semillas tradicionales-, e ingresar cada vez mayores cantidades de productos transgénicos en América Latina y el tercer mundo.

Estas son grosso modo las lecciones más importantes que deja la liberalización comercial impuesta por los Estados Unidos a México, la cual pretende imponer sobre el resto de América Latina.

* Janet Ruiz- José Martínez
Febrero 20 de 2006

Texto completo del TLCAN disponible en:
La apertura comercial ha afectado todas las áreas agropecuarias con excepción de algunos enclaves de agricultura de exportación, causado mayores estragos en las regiones de agricultura campesina; Chiapas, Oaxaca, Yucatán, Campeche, Veracruz, Guerrero y parte de Puebla.
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Calderón, Jorge Alfonso, México, crisis agrícola y Tratado de Libre Comercio, en Economía Informa No.296 de abril de 2001 Facultad de Economía UNAM México.
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Bartra, Armando, El campo no aguanta más I, en La Jornada México Diciembre 14 de 2002.
El tamaño medio de las explotaciones agropecuarias en los Estados Unidos es de 207 hectáreas, lo que permite apreciar el carácter agroindustrial de su sector agropecuario. Datos de la OCDE, en el Anuario del año 2000 de la Comisión Europea.
Calderón, Jorge Alfonso, Agricultura y libre comercio en México, en Economía Informa No.314 de febrero de 2003 Facultad de Economía UNAM México. P5.
Marroquín, Jesús, El sector agropecuario mexicano y el TLC. Apunte para un debate, en Economía Informa No.300 de septiembre de 2001 Facultad de Economía UNAM México.
Según Calderón, el tratamiento otorgado a los inversionistas transnacionales viola, los artículos 13,17, 27y la fracción I de la Constitución Nacional Mexicana. Liberación comercial en México: balance y propuestas alternativas, en Economía Informa No.296 de Abril de 2001 Facultad de Economía UNAM México.
“Entre 1915 y 1940 se entregaron casi 18 millones de hectáreas de tierra que beneficiaron a un millón y medio de familias y 20 millones de hectáreas para 180 mil ejidos que beneficiaron a 750 mil familias”. Marroquín, Jesús, El sector agropecuario mexicano y el TLC. Apunte para un debate, en Economía Informa No.300 de septiembre de 2001 Facultad de Economía UNAM México.
Quintero, Víctor, La guerra contra el campo Mexicano.
Bartra, Armando, Ibíd., Diciembre 14 de 2002.
Bartra, Armando, Ibíd., Diciembre 14 de 2002.
Quintana, Víctor, El imperio contra la agricultura, La Jornada, 23 de abril de 2002.
Ya en 1999 se plateaba que el sector arrocero atravesaba por “una drástica reducción de la producción y de la superficie, la quiebra de industrias y la perdida de empleos directos e indirectos, el crecimiento acelerado de las importaciones y la pérdida de la autosuficiencia alimentaria y la desarticulación de la cadena productiva”, ver, “La producción de arroz de México en el marco de la apertura comercial” de Miguel A. Cruz. En Economía Informa No.276, Abril de 1999 Facultad de Economía UNAM, México.
Al respecto ver el artículo “El conflicto comercial entre cañeros e ingenios” de Javier Aguilar. En Economía Informa No.300 de septiembre de 2001 Facultad de Economía UNAM, México.
En el sector cafetalero existen unos 470.000 productores de los cuales 80% son indígenas, en los últimos diez años se ha reducido la producción en un 40%, en un 55% las exportaciones y en un 70% los ingresos de los productores.
Ibid/ Arroyo, Alberto. P13-17.
Calderón, Jorge Alfonso, México, crisis agrícola y Tratado de Libre Comercio, en Economía Informa No.296 de abril de 2001, Facultad de Economía UNAM, México.
Campos Juan, Balance: 10 años del TLCAN antecedente del ALCA, en Teoría y Práctica, No.11-12, México, 2002.
En un juego diabólico, la expresión económica dominante, -“crecimiento económico”-, se propuso, integrar todas las economías nacionales del planeta y, para el efecto, extendió el industrialismo como modelo a copiar por el resto de los países rezagados en este proceso. El nombre técnico con el cual la economía distinguió esta política, fue el de “transformación estructural”, que consistía en incorporar la producción agraria al esquema del industrialismo, apoyado en cuatro estrategias: monocultivo, mejoramiento genético, agroquímicos y transformación industrial. En Estados Unidos, la concentración agrícola ha hecho crecer la desertización en 200.000 mil hectáreas por año, y en África Occidental, los monocultivos (materia de exportación) crean de 10 a50 kilómetros más de desierto por año. Gómez, Luis Jair. El concepto de sostenibilidad ecológica: Génesis y límites. National university of Colombia. 1998. P34-35.
En el texto “Hacia una historia ambiental de América Latina”, de Luis Vitale, se referencian numerosos casos en los cuales el uso de plaguicidas, prohibidos en los países en que se producen, ha contaminado los alimentos y causado la muerte o enfermedades a numerosas personas.
Datos de Pat Mooney del Grupo de Acción sobre Erosión, Tecnología y Concentración, 2003.
Rosset, Peter. ¿Cómo confluyen las resistencias en Estados Unidos?, en Rebeldía No.10 agosto del 2003.
Movimiento el campo no aguanta más, Manifiesto de Ciudad Juárez enero 6 de 2003.
Rubio, Blanca. La fase agroalimentaria global en América Latina. En Impactos del libre comercio, plaguicidas y transgénicos en la agricultura de América Latina, Red de Acción sobre plaguicidas y alternativas en México, México 2003. P34.
Ibid/ Rubio, Blanca. P35.
Quintero, Víctor, La guerra contra el campo Mexicano.
Bartra, Armando, Ibíd., Diciembre 14 de 2002.
Pradilla Cobos, Emilio, Neoliberalismo, globalización, regiones y ciudades en crisis, en Memoria No.169, de septiembre de 2002.
http://www.memoria.commx/169/pradilla.htm P2.
“Para la mitad de la población mundial la brutal realidad se puede exponer en los siguientes términos: aspirarían a estar en mejores condiciones que una vaca europea. En promedio, las vacas en Europa reciben 2,20 USD diarios por concepto de subsidios y ayuda gubernamental, mientras que 2.800 millones de personas viven con menos de 2 dólares diarios en los países subdesarrollados. En general, no existe escasez de alimentaos en el mundo, pues nunca antes se había producido un volumen tan grande. Lo que se está atestiguando, por tanto, es un hambre creciente en medio de la abundancia”. García, Benjamín, Capital humano y medio ambiente, en Economía Informa No.316 de mayo de 2003. Facultad de Economía UNAM, México. P18.
Saldívar, Américo, Globalización y medio ambiente: pobreza sin desarrollo, en Economía Informa No.316 de mayo de 2003. Facultad de Economía UNAM México. P11.
Rosset, Peter. Perdiendo nuestra tierra. En Impactos del libre comercio, plaguicidas y transgénicos en la agricultura de América Latina, Red de Acción sobre plaguicidas y alternativas en México, México, 2003. P48.
Congreso Agrario Permanente, Vamos a Cancún por un Acuerdo Mundial por el Campo. México, Agosto 4 de 2003. P3.
Retana Yarto, Jorge, La Farm Bill y la agricultura mexicana. En Economía Informa No.314 de febrero de 2003. P25.
Rosset, Peter. P49.
Ibid/ Retana Yarto, Jorge. P33.
Trápaga Delfín, Yolanda, Los subsidios agrícolas: un capítulo despreciado, en Economía Informa No.314 de febrero de 2003. P15.

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