You can pick out a lot of horns on the dilemma that is Mexico.

The big one, most likely, is the issue with immigration and that one branches off into several smaller points that include border violence, drug trafficking and the desperate need in the United States for Mexican labor.

Water issues frequently stick up as one side of the border claims the other is taking advantage. And then there is trade, which comes with its own tines of alleged barriers, quotas, rules and food security questions.

But the bottom line is this: Mexico and the United States have a long and profitable trading relationship.

“Mexico is one of our largest trading partners,” said Pete Olsen, agriculture attaché with the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service in Mexico City.

Olsen led off a panel discussion on trade issues at the Texas Produce Association annual conference in San Antonio.

“We have a big time trade relationship with Mexico,” Olsen said. U.S. exports to Mexico top $19 billion annually. Imports are $16.5 billion. Mexico wants increased U. S. market access, “especially for potatoes, avocadoes and poultry. Food safety will be an issue and Mexican imports have to meet USDA standards.”

USDA has 19 offices in Mexico, including FAS, the Animal-Plant Health Inspection Service or APHIS and the Agricultural Research Service.

“Mexico also wants to eliminate some trade barriers and build on NAFTA,” he said.

Mexican agriculture production includes corn, cattle, poultry, sugar cane, swine, forages, sorghum, tomatoes, avocadoes, peppers and dry beans.

But Mexican agriculture has its share of production problems. “Recently, agriculture’s share of the Mexican labor force has been declining as labor shifts to manufacturing. And we have the immigration issue, as everyone knows.”