USTR addresses fertilizer tariffs, GMO corn ban during Iowa visit

The U.S. Trade Representative addressed fertilizer tariffs and Mexico’s GMO corn ban during a market development roundtable at a farm in central Iowa Thursday.

Ambassador Katherine Tai says she understands farmer concerns about the high price of fertilizer caused in part by tariffs on phosphate imports from Morocco.

“This is me saying this, knowing that it’s in the jurisdiction 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.”

On Mexico’s proposed ban of GMO corn, Tai says there are challenging dynamics and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, who also took part in the roundtable, is bringing skill and expertise to those conversations.

“To ensure that we’re able to make progress. And on that again, one of these very important issue areas in the USMCA where USDA and USTR work hand in glove.”

Vilsack says Mexico’s president opposes biotech corn partly because of the heritage of white corn and because of populous politics.  But the Ag Secretary is emphasizing food prices will go up in Mexico if a ban is implemented. 

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