March 07, 2005

Delegation Hails Return Of Idaho Bean Exports To Mexico

Washington, DC - Idahoâ??s Congressional Delegation commended the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Republic of Mexico on the decision to resume exports of U.S. dry beans, including those from Idaho, to Mexico. The negotiated agreement came after Idahoâ??s delegation joined those from other states in sending letters asking actions be taken to reopen Mexico to U.S. bean sales."The Mexican government could not provide a justifiable reason why they had imposed an arbitrary ban on this commodity so I am very pleased a resolution to this problem was arrived at which will benefit Idaho producers,â?? Senator Larry Craig said. "This case provides a successful example of how the industry, the Administration, and Congress can work together to resolve these complex trade issues."â??Idahoâ??s bean growers lost their largest market when Mexico closed itsâ?? borders for little reason to the bean trade,â?? Senator Mike Crapo said. â??Perhaps it is a sign that the efforts to reopen some NAFTA trade decisions are gathering support, but in any case we must stand behind the history of free trade involving Idaho agricultural products with Mexico.â??"Idaho's farmers can compete on a world market when the rules of free trade are fair. When the Mexican government haphazardly closed its border, Idaho bean farmers suffered terrible economic losses," Congressman Mike Simpson said. "I'm pleased the Bush Administration and the Mexican government were able to come to an agreement quickly before further economic damage occurred."Congressman C.L. "Butch" Otter, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee who spent 30 years in agribusiness with the J.R. Simplot Co., said, "This is tremendous news for Idaho bean growers, and in a larger sense for everyone whose livelihood depends on exports -- and that's more of us than most people think. I'm a big proponent of free trade, but there's nothingfree about commerce that flows in only one direction. It's encouraging whenever one of our trading partners come to understand that we'll insist on fairness and won't allow our agricultural producers or any other sector of the U.S. market to be victimized by policies that fly in the face of international agreements."The decision to reopen bean trade with Mexico followed a meeting two weeks ago between staff and members of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a group of Mexican senators visiting Washington, DC. Idaho bean growers were hard hit by the loss of a major market in Mexico when that government closed the border, citing health reasons that Idaho growers said were not substantiated. # # #