February 26,2004

Grassley Seeks Fair Treatment of U.S. Corn, Soybeans in Morocco Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, today urged the nation’s top trade negotiator to push for the immediate elimination of tariffs on U.S. corn and soybeans sent to Morocco in the developing U.S.-Morocco Free Trade agreement.

The text of Grassley’s letter to the United States Trade Representative follows.

February 26, 2004

The Honorable Robert B. Zoellick
U.S. Trade Representative
600 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20508

Dear Ambassador Zoellick:

I am writing with regard to the tariff treatment of corn and soybeans in the proposed U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

As negotiations of the proposed FTA continue this week, I urge you to pursue the immediate elimination of tariffs on U.S. exports to Morocco of corn, corn meal, corn gluten, and other corn products. Likewise, the United States should seek the immediate elimination of tariffs on U.S. soybeans shipped to Morocco, both soybeans imported for the soybean crushing industry and soybeans imported for other forms of processing and use. It is my understanding that Morocco maybe requesting phase-outs, as opposed to the immediate elimination, of tariffs applied to these U.S. commodities.

The immediate elimination of tariffs on corn and soybeans would benefit farmers in Iowa and other states. It would also be welcomed by Moroccan importers, including Morocco’s poultryproducers who, due in large part to high duties on imports of corn and soybeans, have among theworld’s most expensive production costs. I have been informed that Morocco is an insignificantproducer of corn and that virtually no soybeans are grown in Morocco.

Thank you for your attention to this matter of importance to Iowa’s farmers.


Charles E. Grassley