Mexico is suspending import duties on food staples including corn oil, rice and wheat in an attempt to curb soaring inflation.

In an announcement on the government’s official gazette, Mexico said it will waive duties for at least a year.

The move is the Mexican government’s latest attempt to curb food inflation. Earlier this month, the government sought the agreement of domestic manufacturers to up production of staples including corn and beans.

It has now published a list of products on which import duties will be waived. The list includes bread, potatoes, tuna, beef, chicken, milk, eggs and cornflour.

Duties will also be suspended on imports of live cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and chickens, pending the approval of Mexico’s foreign trade commission.

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By GlobalData

The waiver, which also includes non-food household staples, takes effect from today (17 May).

The announcement, in the name of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, described the initiative as The Package Against Inflation and Famine.

It said the action has been taken with the purpose of “reducing inflation and the fall in consumption of Mexican households”.

It added: “It is necessary and urgent to temporarily exempt the payment of import tariffs on products classified in 66 tariff items that are part of the basic basket.”

Mexican inflation rose to a 21-year high in April. Consumer prices rose 7.68% in the year to April and, in the month alone increased 0.54%, the country’s national statistics agency said.

Globally, food commodity prices have been at or near record-high levels for months, initially fuelled by demand recovering since the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic and further boosted by the war in Ukraine.

World food commodity prices “eased” in April, according to the UN’s index of a basket of key crops.

The FAO Food Price Index averaged 158.5 points in April, down 0.8 percent from March’s all-time high.

Behind the slight decline lay a drop in the Food and Agriculture Organization’s index of vegetable-oil prices and a dip in its cereal index.

Nevertheless, the FAO said its overall Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of a basket of commonly-traded food commodities, remained 29.8% higher in April than in the same month last year.

See Just Food’s analysis here: As commodity supplies shrink and prices rise, low-income countries feel impact of Ukraine war

For more on Just Food’s coverage on how the conflict is affecting the food industry, please visit our dedicated microsite.

Just Food parent GlobalData is providing an ongoing analysis of the war’s impact across business sectors.