Senate committee concerned about trade barriers

A bi-partisan group of 11 senators is asking Mexico to stop imposing trade barriers to agricultural products from the United States. The senators, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, believe Mexico's inability, or unwillingness, to fulfill its trade obligations is harming U.S. agricultural producers.

“The government of Mexico appears to be engaging in a systematic practice designed to stop our exports from entering the Mexican market,” reads the Oct. 6 letter to Mexico's foreign minister, secretary of the economy and secretary of agriculture.

In addition to Grassley, the letter to the Mexican government officials is signed by fellow Republican members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance: Orrin Hatch, Craig Thomas, Rick Santorum, Jim Bunning and Don Nickles. Democratic senators signing the letter include Ranking Member Max Baucus, Kent Conrad, James M. Jeffords, John F. Kerry and Blanche L. Lincoln.

“This persistent pattern not only hurts U.S. agriculture, but also undermines our strong trade relationship, harms Mexican consumers, and could have a chilling effect on investment in Mexico,” the senators say. “As members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, we value sound trade relations between the United States and our trading partners. We are willing to work with Mexico to resolve trade problems between our countries.

“At the same time, however, we recognize that the worth of trade commitments depends upon the willingness of countries to abide by them. Accordingly, it is our hope that Mexico will come into compliance with its agricultural trade obligations in the most expeditious manner,” the senators' letter says.

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