Tai noted anti-dumping and countervailing duty tariffs fall under the purview of the Commerce Department, “but I think it’s reasonable for us to take a look at the health and functioning of the market here domestically in light of changes that have happened in the international context and how healthy competition is here,” Tai said.
As DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends reports this week, DAP and MAP prices have come down from their spring peaks, but both products are still running 26% to 30% higher than they were a year ago. (See https://www.dtnpf.com/…)
Vilsack said USDA will be rolling out some support this fall to help advance some new fertilizer plants and mining operations either in the process of construction or permitting that will help alleviate some of these pressures on imported fertilizer.
MEXICO’S BIOTECH POLICIES
Bob Haus, representing Corteva, which employs about 3,000 people in central Iowa, raised the issue with officials over Mexico’s delays or refusals to approve 14 biotech crop traits involving corn, soybeans and cotton.
“As our customers will attest, this will affect their decisions going forward on what to plant,” Haus said.
Lillibridge also noted Mexico is the top U.S. market for corn and dried distillers’ grain exports. Lillibridge said he is concerned about statements and executive orders that Mexican President Andres Lopez Obrador has made about biotech crops.
“With these decrees, farmers are very, very concerned about what will happen,” Lillibridge said.
Vilsack said he has repeatedly spoken to Mexican Agriculture Secretary Victor Villalobos about biotech corn. “I have talked to him so many times that we don’t know how many times,” Vilsack said.
Vilsack also talked to Obrador on the issue, stressing that any disruption of U.S. corn flowing to Mexico would drive up higher food prices for Mexican consumers. Vilsack touched on the Mexican president’s populist politics that highlights his support for small farmers. Obrador sees the issues of white corn versus yellow corn differently. “Part of it is his heritage,” Vilsack said. “For him, it’s about white corn because (Mexico) is where white corn was first developed.”
Regarding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Tai said the deal has strong enforcement mechanisms. “There is a very challenging dynamic that we have on biotech and corn trade with Mexico,” Tai said, pointing to Vilsack’s comments. “On these very important issues in the USMCA, USDA and USTR are working hand in glove.”
Vilsack pointed out Tai already has shown a willingness to use USMCA rules to resolve disputes as the USTR did regarding dairy markets with Canada.
“So, I think that’s a strong point that I continually reinforce to my colleagues and my friends in Mexico is that the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office is not fearful of using those processes.”
TRADE TALKS IMPORTANT
Steve Noah, president of Farmers for Free Trade, credited the Biden administration for creating the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, but Noah pointed out that’s not a specific trade deal that would open new markets and lower tariffs.
“Our competitors have entered into trade deals left and right,” Noah said.
Noting the issues the U.S. had with China during the trade war, Brian Kemp, representing the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) called for developing new markets as well. He spotlighted that since the 2018 trade war, USSEC has worked to increase markets elsewhere, and now Egypt has become a top 4 market for U.S. soybeans.
Vilsack later pointed out that increased market access remains a priority, but he also added the U.S. also is heading towards another year of record agricultural exports as well.
JOHN DEERE PRODUCTION MOVE
Tai also touched on an earlier…