Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2022. 10:20 am CST.
Photo Credit: Jose Abelardo Mai – OW South
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: “This is one of the greatest moments in the history of both nations!!,” wrote Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security, and Enterprise in reference to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announcing during his visit to Belize on Saturday that Belize’s agricultural products can be exported to Mexico tariff-free.
“Our government had been seeking reduction of tariffs for cattle since we were elected. Minister [Eamon] Courtenay and his team have spent days working to achieve an acceptable Trade Agreement that would benefit our producers!!,” said Mai who himself had been pushing for a partial scope agreement with Mexico. In July 2021, Mai met with Mexico’s Agriculture Secretary Dr. Víctor Manuel Villalobos Arámbula and had already worked out a number of agreements including one on technical cooperation through which Mexico’s National Institute of Forest, Agriculture, and Cattle Research – Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas, y Pecuarias (INIFAP) offered technical assistance, research cooperation and training for Belizean agricultural personnel.
Mai had also managed to activate cattle exports to Mexico despite the strict demands by Senasica, Mexico’s agricultural health authority, and also renewed the agreement for the exportation of shrimp to the neighboring country.
“Today, this announcement on the zero tariffs on agriculture products will radically change the future of agriculture in our nation,” said Mai.
“On behalf of the farmers and people of Belize, I thank President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador and the government of Mexico for granting us such an opportunity. The farmers and their families are truly grateful!”
Mai went on to thank Minister Courtenay and his team “for the perseverance and commitment to the agro productive Sector” and Prime Minister John Briceño “for always supporting our farmers and their families.”
“But to God be all praises. He has heard the cry and answered the prayers of our Belizean Farmers and their families!!” concluded Minister Mai.
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