Grassley to Mexico: Stop Undermining NAFTA
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, today sent
a strongly worded letter urging Mexican officials to stop taking actions against U.S. agricultural
products that undermine the spirit, if not the law, of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The text of Grassley’s letter follows.
May 8, 2003
His Excellency Javier Bernardo Usabiaga Arroyo
Secretary of Agriculture
Ministry of Agriculture
Insurgentes Sur 476
Col. Roma Sur
Dear Secretary Usabiaga:
I am writing to express my strongest concerns regarding Mexico’s commitment to abide by
its agricultural trade obligations established in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexico has recently undertaken a number of actions against U.S. agricultural products that undermine the spirit, if not the law, of NAFTA. Mexico’s continued pattern of not meeting its
international trade obligations is unacceptable.
Commodities affected by Mexico’s recent actions and threatened actions include pork, corn,
high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), beef, rice, apples, and dry beans. The first four of these products are produced in Iowa, the state I represent in the U.S. Senate.
Barriers imposed by Mexico are impacting not only Iowa, but also other states. Members of
the Senate that have steadfastly supported trade liberalization between our countries, including me, wonder why Mexican officials are so willing to jeopardize the foundation of the trading system that is critical to the economic health and vitality of both our countries by imposing these restrictions.
The United States and Mexico made commitments with the signing of the NAFTA. Both
countries must abide by these commitments. Regardless, some in Mexico would rather not see
Mexico follow its NAFTA obligations and are urging, instead, the renegotiation of NAFTA. The
only reason to undertake such a renegotiation would appear to be to impose more barriers on trade between our countries, an outcome that would disadvantage Mexico as well as the United States.
NAFTA resulted in an open trading relationship that benefits citizens of both countries and
all sectors of our economies. A key to the maintenance of this relationship is the adherence to
NAFTA rules, including rules prohibiting the imposition of unwarranted barriers to the importation
of agricultural products such as pork, corn, HFCS, and beef.
I am also sending this letter to Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez and Secretary of the
Economy Fernando Canales. I urge each of you to keep the foundations of our trading relationship strong by resisting what appear to be shortsighted and politically motivated efforts to undermine NAFTA.
Charles E. Grassley
His Excellency Juan Jose Bremer Martino
Mexican Ambassador to the United States
The Honorable Colin Powell
Secretary of State
The Honorable Robert Zoellick
U.S. Trade Representative
The Honorable Ann Veneman
Secretary of Agriculture
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