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Montana Ag Network: June 10th Report – Mexico trade update

The Nation’s Capitol was abuzz Friday night when President Trump tweeted he had suspended plans to impose tariffs on Mexican goods stating the U.S. and Mexico had reached an agreement on stemming illegal immigration.

The president said Mexican officials “agreed to take strong measures” to cut down on the flow of illegal immigrants traveling through Mexico and entering the U.S.

Some agricultural leaders were concerned about additional tariffs and the effect it would have on U.S. agriculture.

Chase Adams is the Senior Policy and Information Director for the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). He said ASI was pleased to see an agreement reached to avoid more trade conflict.

“Mexico is a big partner for us,” said Adams. “Anything that raises prices, especially for the products that we’re sending down to Mexico, is going to turn them away from U.S. lamb. As we know, even here domestically, we’ve got a lot of other competitors.”

In terms of exports, Mexico is the top trading partner for U.S. lamb.

“This year we’re actually up about 78 percent year over year and we’re up about 40 percent in volume,” Adams explained. “It’s been a very positive year for trade with Mexico. We’re very pleased to see that this was resolved so quickly. Especially, as we have other pending trade issues that are out there that are causing us a lot of concern in agriculture.”

Avoiding new tariffs has created optimism in agriculture that Congress will soon vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

“I think it continues a lot of positive momentum,” said Adams. “Most of agriculture has really told Congress very clearly that we need to see the ratification of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement. We need to see that soon because it’s not just us the rely on those markets but all commodities across the board.”

The American Sheep Industry Association said they will continue to advocate for trade agreements with China, Japan and other nations that are beneficial to both U.S. lamb and wool producers.

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the discovery of an unapproved genetically engineered (GE) wheat plant growing in an unplanted agricultural field in Washington state.

The USDA issued a statement Friday confirming there was no evidence the wheat had entered the food supply.

The U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers said they believe USDA-APHIS is well prepared to identify additional information about the discovery and that the discovery also confirmed there are no GE wheat varieties for sale or in commercial production in the United States at this time.

USDA-APHIS has not deregulated any GE wheat varieties and there is no health risk associated with glyphosate resistant events and wheat based on US Food and Drug Administration evaluations.

This week, the Montana Farm Bureau will hold its summer meetings in Bozeman starting Tuesday and running through Thursday.

The Montana Stockgrowers will meet in Miles City for their Mid-Year meeting this Thursday through Saturday.

-Reported by Lane Nordlund/MTN News

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