Sec. Vilsack meets in Mexico on U.S.-Mexico ag & trade issues

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Merida, Mexico, Dec. 10 - After attending the U.N. climate change negotiations in Cancun, Agriculture Sec. Vilsack met with Mexican Agricultural Secretary Francisco Mayorga on Friday to discuss agriculture and trade issues. Vilsack summarized their meeting this way:

 Together we can feed the Bees

“Today, Secretary Mayorga and I had a very productive exchange on a wide range of issues of pressing importance to both the United States and Mexico. Our two countries have a mutually beneficial relationship that serves us well. Mexico is the second largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, while the United States is by far the largest export market for Mexican agricultural products.

“Our countries have been committed to making North America a competitive production area for exporting agricultural products to the world since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. This involves the ever-deepening integration of Canadian, Mexican and U.S. production, processing and marketing infrastructure as well as adoption of modern production technologies.

“Our highly integrated agricultural sectors will present challenges to our agricultural relationship from time to time, however we both expressed a commitment to work together to quickly resolve any issues before they negatively affect trade. The United States government will continue to work with the Mexican government to achieve positive, measurable results from our collaboration on a broad range of activities, including agricultural extension education, biotechnology, animal and plant health, disease control, and trade liberalization.”

One major outstanding issue - clearly not resolved in Friday's meeting - is the question of allowing Mexican trucks to operate in the U.S. as required by NAFTA rules. Currently, Mexico has imposed tariffs on a range of U.S. exports to offset the damage caused by the continuing U.S. non-compliance with NAFTA requirements for trucking access. In past statements, USDA officials have explained that the trucking access issue is being handled by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, not by USDA.

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