Mexican Corn Rule Seen Imperiling Free Trade Agreement
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Efforts to eliminate Mexico’s corn-licensing requirement could derail a proposed North American free trade agreement, says the U.S. Feed Grains Council.
The council, which recently sent a fact-finding mission to Latin America, noted in a recent news release that Mexico imported nearly 190 million bushels of corn from the United States in 1990. In 1991, that dropped to just under 100 million bushels, it said.
Corn is the most important food commodity for the people of Mexico and has been part of the culture since before the Aztecs, the council pointed out.
″As a result, corn producers in Mexico are protected through high subsidies and import barriers,″ it said. ″Under the proposed North American free trade agreement, efforts to eliminate these restrictions will not come easy. In fact, the elimination of Mexico’s corn-licensing requirement may be the issue that could ultimately derail (the agreement).″
At present, any corn imported by Mexico must be government-licensed and is subject to a series of restrictions, said Scott Ingle, a member of the mission representing the South Dakota Corn Council.
″These restrictions are designed to keep corn from going into channels someone could use to take advantage of the high internal support prices,″ he said. ″Without this system, U.S. corn exports to Mexico could double or even triple in a very short period of time.″
Ingle said that because of the political importance of corn producers and their rural communities, ″it is easy to see why the prospect of eliminating trade barriers is such a big issue in Mexico.″
In the long run, said John Whipple, a mission member representing the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, ″both Mexico and the United States will be better off if we can eliminate trade barriers and restrictions. This will enable both parties to buy and sell the products that we each produce best.″
WASHINGTON (AP) - Gwen Bronson, who has served six terms in the Vermont Legislature, has been named director of intergovernmental affairs for the Agriculture Department.
In her new post, Bronson will serve as USDA’s liaison to state departments of agriculture and other state and local government offices.
She has served on the board of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Washington-based national legislators organization. She also served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Vermont for six years.
″Gwen Bronson’s experience and expertise with the legislative process and legislative organizations will be invaluable to USDA and the national farming community in her role as director of intergovernmental affairs,″ Agriculture Secretary Edward Madigan said in announcing the appointment.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Organizations representing cotton importers are being invited to apply for eligibility certification to nominate members to the Cotton Board, which administers the national cotton research and promotion program.
The 1990 farm law required that imported cotton and cotton products be assessed under the national cotton research and promotion program, and that the assessed cotton importers be represented on the Cotton Board, said Daniel D. Haley, administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service in the Agriculture Department.