Almost 30 groups signed a letter to members of Biden’s cabinet
By Diego Flammini
The U.S. ag sector has reached out to members of the Biden Administration to express concerns with an important trading partner.
A total of 27 groups signed a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai about recent developments between the U.S. and Mexico that could affect American farmers.
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) “is extremely concerned with the rapidly deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and our neighbors to the south,” Zippy Duvall, president of the AFBF, said in a statement. “We built strong trade ties with Mexico through NAFTA and improved upon them with USMCA, but recent moves by Mexico to limit American imports and to undercut prices in the U.S. puts America’s farmers and ranchers at a competitive disadvantage.”
Other signees of the March 22 letter include the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association and National Potato Council.
Some of the issues with Mexico date back to 2020 and further.
On New Year’s Eve, for example, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signed a decree to phase out glyphosate and GMO corn in the country by 2024. The ban would apply to corn used for food and feed.
This ban could be a substantial hit for the U.S. corn industry as Mexico is continually the top market for U.S. corn.
In 2019, American corn exports totaled $7.7 billion with Mexico accounting for $2.7 billion of that amount.
Another issue is affecting U.S. potato growers.
This dates to 2002, when the U.S. agreed to expand opportunities for Mexican avocados and Mexico agreed to open its borders for fresh U.S. potatoes.
In 2019, the U.S. imported more than 2.1 billion pounds of Mexican avocados.
But American potato farmers can only sell fresh potatoes within a 16-mile area across the border.
Issues like these and others affecting U.S. ag need to be addressed quickly, the groups say.
“We are eager to work with you to address challenges in the Mexico trade relationship, which is critical to U.S. farmers, ranchers, producers, and workers,” the letter says.