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Draft Paper – Not to be cited without author’s permission

campesino identity and community belonging that continue to define them in economic exile. Their money, whether individual or organized, subsidizes rural infrastructure, farm equipment, inputs, and labor and conserves cultural identity. The combination of these personal subsidies and subsistence tenacity account for the otherwise unaccountable growth in corn production in Mexico—despite the overwhelming “comparative disadvantages” of a distorted international market. They reflect a deep cultural resistance to the dislocation and denial inherent in the free trade model.84

In Figure 5, we see an apparently close relationship between Mexico’s, maize imports and subsidies to maize farmers in the United States. Before the late 1980’s market opening in Mexico, there was little apparent relationship. The two import spikes (’83 and 95-96) were the product of Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) concessional loans to Mexico, in which Mexico agreed to use this credit to import American corn, in the first case at least linked to U.S. government efforts to alleviate a farm crisis at home.85 In 95-

96 Mexican importers devastating impacts on

took on Mexican

an estimated USD $1.5 billion

maize

farmers.86

Between

1997

CCC credits,

with

and 2002 the

CCC

provided Mexican importers much more favorable than

Mexican

farmers.87

Export

with another USD $1.4 financing available in credits from the CCC

billion in credits, offered on terms Mexico to purchase grains from are a bone of contention in the

88 international trade discipline, though them.

debate, as they are currently excluded from commitments have been made, as mentioned

WTO

and

NAFTA

above,

to

eliminate

Figure 7. Mexican maize imports and U.S. maizes subsidies. After Henriques and Patel, 2003.

45

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