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Country

1990

2002

Percent change 1990–2002

Canada Mexico

34.0 12.3

30.0 16.4

–12 33

United States

29.0

28.7

–1

Table 5.13

Per capita beef consumption (kilograms)

Source: USDA Production, Supply, and Distribution database, 2004.

creased by 44 percent from 14.6 million metric tons to 21 million metric tons between 1990 and 2003. US corn production rose just 27 percent, from 201.5 million metric tons to 257 million metric tons, while Canadian corn production increased 35 percent, from 7.1 million metric tons to 9.6 mil- lion metric tons (see table 5.14).

Corn Prices

The Mexican government embarked on its program of unilateral liberal- ization of corn and Mexican domestic corn prices fell in dollar terms from $4.69 per bushel in 1995 to $3.65 per bushel in 1997 (and have since re- mained at about that level; see table 5.15). Even though corn prices have fallen by about 20 percent since 1995, Mexican corn production remained high.134 Since 1994, the area under corn has remained fairly constant at 7 million to 8 million hectares (see table 5.16). In other words, lower corn prices did not prompt Mexican farmers to permanently reallocate land to other crops or to leave farm life altogether.

Corn Trade

The United States is the largest corn exporter in the world. US global corn exports increased by 17 percent from 40.7 million metric tons (worth $4.5 billion) in 1993 to 47.6 million metric tons in 2002 ($5.1 billion).135 US corn exports to NAFTA partners, expressed as a share of total corn exports, steadily increased from 3 percent in 1993 ($0.2 billion) to 21 percent in 2002 ($1.1 billion; see tables 5.17 and 5.18).136 US corn exports comprise

134. Although Oxfam argues that real corn prices declined by more than 70 percent between 1994 and 2001, a careful analysis suggests Mexican corn prices declined by about 10 percent in dollar terms over this period (see table 5.15). See Oxfam (2003) and Nadal (2000).

  • 135.

    US global corn exports declined slightly in 2003 to 43.2 million metric tons ($4.9 billion).

  • 136.

    In 1993, the United States imported just $61 million worth of corn from the world,

mostly from NAFTA countries (about 67 percent). By 2002, the total value of US corn imports reached $137 million, of which $34 million was from NAFTA partners. US corn exports to

332

NAFTA REVISITED: ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES

Institute for International Economics | www.iie.com

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