The Environmental and Social Impacts of Economic Liberalization on Corn Production in Mexico

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The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the United States and Canada came into effect on 1 January 1994. This study compares the anticipated impacts of liberalizing the Mexican corn sector, which produces the country's key staple food crop and provides an important source of livelihoods, under NAFTA with the actual socioeconomic and environmental outcomes. In so doing, it provides an important example of the social and environmental problems resulting from a rapid and poorly-planned adjustment to a more liberal agricultural trade regime in the absence of adequate transitional state support.
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  The Environmental& Social Impactsof EconomicLiberalization onCorn Productionin Mexico Alejandro Nadal  A Study Commissioned byOxfam GB and WWF InternationalSeptember 2000  This paper was researched and written by Alejandro Nadal, Science and TechnologyProgram, El Colegio de México, for Oxfam GB and WWF International.The views in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of OxfamGB or of WWF.For further information, please contact: Penny Fowler Trade Policy Adviser Oxfam GB274 Banbury Road,Oxford, OX2 7DZUnited KingdomTel: +44 1865 312331Fax: +44 1865 312245Email:  pfowler@oxfam.org.uk Website: www.oxfam.org.uk  Mireille Perrin Policy Adviser, Trade & Investment UnitWWF InternationalAve du Mont-Blanc1196 GlandSwitzerlandTel: +41 22 364 9026Fax: +41 22 364 8219E-mail: mperrin@wwfint.orgWebsite: www.panda.org Related publications from WWF International Sustainability Assessment of Trade: A Summary of Key Issues , April 2000  Directing WTO Negotiations towards Sustainable Agriculture and Development  , November 1999  Initiating an Environmental Assessment of Trade Liberalization in the WTO , March 1999  Developing a Methodology for the Environmental Assessment of Trade Liberalization Agreements ,August 1998  Agriculture in the Uruguay Round: Implications for Sustainable Development in Developing Countries , January 1995 Related publications from Oxfam GB  Agricultural Trade and the Livelihoods of Small Farmers , March 2000  Loaded against the Poor  , November 1999 Genetically Modified Crops, World Trade and Food Security , November 1999 Trade Liberalisation as a Threat to Livelihoods: the Corn Sector in the Philippines , December 1996Published September 2000 by WWF – World Wide Fund For Nature (Formerly World Wildlife Fund),Gland, Switzerland and by Oxfam GB, Oxford, UK. Any reproduction in full or in part of this publication must mention the title and credit the above-mentioned publishers as the copyright owners.© Text 2000 WWF/Oxfam. All rights reserved.The material and the geographical designations in this report do not imply the expression of anyopinion whatsoever on the part of WWF and Oxfam GB concerning the legal status of any country,territory, or area, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.  Oxfam GB is a development, relief, and campaigning organisation dedicated to finding lasting solutions to poverty and sufferingaround the world. It believes that every human being is entitled to a life of dignity and opportunity; and works with poor communities, local partners, volunteers, and supporters to help this become a reality.Registered charity number. 202918. Oxfam GB 274 Banbury RoadOxford, OX2 7DZUnited KingdomTel: +44 1865 312127Fax: +44 1865 312245www.oxfam.org.uk WWF is the world’s largest and most experienced independent conservation organization with over 4.7 million supporters and aglobal network active in 96 countriesWWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live inharmony with nature, by: −   Conserving the world’s bioligical diversity −   Ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable −   Promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption WWF International  Ave du Mont-Blanc1196 GlandSwitzerlandTel: +41 22 364 9111Fax: +41 22 364 0640www.panda.org  Acknowledgements The author would like to stress that this study would not have been possible without theinavaluable help of Mr. Víctor Suárez, Executive Director of the  Asociación nacional deempresas comercializadoras de productores del campo  (ANEC) in Mexico City. The fieldwork carried out for this project was enabled through ANEC’s network of rural producers inMexico. The author is indebted to the many corn producers who devoted time and effort inresponding to interviews and filling out lengthy questionnaires. All errors in the analysis arethe sole responsibility of the author.The author would also like to thank Mireille Perrin, Charles Arden Clarke and David Schorr of WWF, as well as Penny Fowler of Oxfam GB, for their support and comments on earlier drafts.The report was edited and laid out by Tim Jones, TJEnvironmental, St. Cergue Switzerland,under the guidance of Mireille Perrin of WWF International.
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