A delegation of Brazilian rice producers is on a mission to Mexico this week to lobby for a cut in the 20% tariff their exports face in the lucrative Mexican market, a reduction they say could enable them to compete with U.S. rivals.
The Brazilian delegation says the tariff remains a hurdle for exporters after obtaining a health authorization from Mexican authorities last year.
“The issue of tariffs is imperative,” Mario Pegorer, commercial manager of Brazilian rice producer Guacira Alimentos and representative of the industry group Abiarroz, told reporters.
“A 20% tariff makes it impossible to send rice here,” he said.
Pegorer said the quality of Brazilian rice is superior to that of supplies from the United States, the leading supplier of rice exported into Mexico.
He estimated Brazilian producers could send between 20,000 and 30,000 tons of rice per year to Mexico at first, but said they have the capacity to send up to 150,000 tons per year.
Mexico buys about 800,000 tons of rice per year from the United States, according to official data.
In September, Brazil said it had begun discussing a free trade deal with Mexico, while Mexican officials said they were seeking to expand existing agreements between the countries.