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Even Movie Theater Popcorn Could Become a Victim If Nafta Ends

  • Mexico cinema CEO sees risks to Iowa corn if taxes imposed
  • Tariffs could make Argentine kernels cheaper than American
Photographer: Luke Sharett/Bloomberg

As Donald Trump’s administration prepares to renegotiate Nafta, the head of Mexico’s largest movie theater chain is warning that an end to free trade could convince him to buy his popcorn from Argentina instead of the U.S.

Cinepolis de Mexico SA, the world’s fourth-largest cinema chain, buys about $10 million a year of American kernels from farmers in Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, according to Chief Executive Officer Alejandro Ramirez. He said his company already studied sourcing the corn from Argentina after Trump’s campaign and victory helped push the peso to record lows against the dollar. For now, the U.S. still wins. But a tax of as little as 2 percent could tip the scales, he said.