Fresh produce growers in the US are relocating their operations to Mexico in increasing numbers in a bid to overcome a crackdown on illegal immigrant workers in several US states, reports suggest.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the Bush administration has vowed to redouble its efforts to take action against companies employing illegal migrants for the remainder of the year. Nearly 3,700 workers have been arrested since last October, the newspaper reported.
US direct investment in Mexican agriculture, in turn, is increasing. Mexico’s Economy Department told The Associated Press that the level of US agricultural investment in Mexico has soared sevenfold to US$60m since 2000.
US producers now farm over 18,200ha in three Mexican states, the news agency added.
In a separate development, World Trade Organisation (WTO) director general Pascal Lamy has criticised the recently-approved US Farm Bill, which proposes an increase in subsidies to US farmers, as “trade distorting”.
The legislation was passed despite pressure from the European Union for the country to reduce its farm subsidies.