The head of Mexico's largest cinema chain said that the impending re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) means that he may soon be persuaded to buy his popcorn from Argentina instead of the United States.
U.S. President Donald Trump's promise to scrap the trade deal was one of the pillars of his campaign.
Cinepolis de Mexico SA, the world's fourth-largest cinema chain, buys $10 million a year of American kernels from farmers in Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, according to chief executive officer Alejandro Ramirez.
He told Bloomberg that Trump's anti-free-trade, isolationist rhetoric during the election campaign and his subsequent win had dented the value of the peso against the dollar, and his company had studied the possibility of sourcing the popcorn from Argentina. For now, he is still buying from the US, but a tax as little as 2 percent could make him change his mind.
We import all of our corn for movie theatres from the US thanks to the fact that there's free trade," Ramirez said. "If that wasn't the case – if we go to pre-Nafta tariff levels – then it would be cheaper to bring it from Argentina."
"A lot of the value chains are complex and nobody has really told people that. We all need to work better to inform. In the past, it was not necessary, because we never thought free trade would be put at risk."