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From page 11 “Mexico is the main market for

processed U.S. potatoes throughout our country,” Cortez said. “As far as fresh potatoes are concerned, Mexico allows fresh potatoes from the United States only up to 26 kilometers and this is being made into a huge scandal and it has become a big issue between the two countries.” Mexico believes this is one of the

factors in not being able to be a part of the TPP negotiations. Not long ago, there was a public com-

ment period about letting Mexico be a part of the talks. Many Americans, including U.S. farmers, agreed that Mexico should be allowed at the table, but only after certain criteria were met. Those criteria included Mexico importing U.S. beef over 30 months of age and fresh potatoes. Cortez likened the situation to a game

of soccer where the United States will only play if Mexico gives them 3 goals before the match even begins. “It is pure stupidity, and Mexico would

be even more stupid if they allowed that,” Cortez said. “Currently there are nine countries negotiating with the United States to establish a larger TPP. Some of those countries like Singapore, who do not allow U.S. beef over 30 months to be imported, remain part of TPP talks.”

ASA urges permanent normal trade relations with Russia

In advance of the recent Senate

Finance Committee hearing on the implications of Russia’s accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the United States, the American Soybean Association (ASA) joined more than 150 organizations from across the business community in submitting a let- ter urging the committee to establish permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia. “The pork and poultry industries,

which use soybean meal in animal feed, are poised to see great success in Russia as income levels rise and the demand for meat increases. What benefits these industries benefits soybean farmers,” said ASA First Vice President Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, Miss. “Those potential positives, howev- er, hinge on further expansion of trade to Russia. The establishment of PNTR with Russia is critical to our ability to increase soybean exports into Europe’s largest consumer market and the world’s 11th largest economy.” As part of the Coalition for U.S.-

Russia Trade, which comprises business- es from a wide range of industries, ASA advocates the graduation of Russia from the Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Trade Act of 1974, enabling Congress to approve PNTR before Russia’s expected entry into the WTO later this summer. “This legislation is crucial in order for


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U.S. manufacturers, service providers, agricultural producers and their employ- ees to take advantage of the many mar- ket opening and transparency commit- ments that form Russia’s accession pack- age to the WTO,” stated the Coalition. “PNTR also gives the United States a powerful tool by enabling the United States to ensure that Russia abides by those commitments through internation- ally binding WTO dispute settlement.” The United States has maintained

normal trade relations with Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992. Growth in the Russian animal protein industry has led to a significant increase in demand for soybeans during the past decade. Russia’s main import partners, however, are Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, leaving room for growth within the market for U.S. soybean exports. “Russia is an important part of U.S.

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business’ global strategy to create and sustain jobs at home by enhancing our long-term competitiveness abroad. Many U.S. companies have developed vibrant, profitable and rapidly-growing business and trade with Russia, with clear strate- gic benefits to parent companies, exports from, and employment in the United States,” continued the Coalition. “Without PNTR, U.S. companies and their employees will be left behind our competitors in this growing and prof- itable market.”

12Markets • Ohio’s Country Journal • • April 2012

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