Mexico asks U.S. to coordinate on tamping down food inflation

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MEXICO CITY, April 5 (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador expressed concern about food inflation and asked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to work with Mexico to curb the impact of rising prices, Mexican Agriculture Minister Victor Villalobos said on Tuesday.

Vilsack is in Mexico meeting with Villalobos to discuss cooperation on "shared priorities including open trade, science-based policy making and sustainable and climate-smart agricultural production," the two governments said in a statement.

U.S. and Mexican authorities concluded all necessary plant health protocols and agreed to a visit by Mexican officials in April to finalize expanded access to the Mexican market no later than May 15 for all U.S. table stock and chipping potatoes, the statement said.

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Villalobos said Lopez Obrador has asked ministers for proposals on how to contain inflation.

"Next Thursday we will have a new meeting to collect information in order to have a proposal," he said.

Mexican inflation hit 7.29% in the first half of March, more than double the central bank target rate of 3%, with a one percentage point tolerance range above and below the target.

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Reporting by Carolina Pulice; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Will Dunham and Sandra Maler

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