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May 08, 2007



WASHINGTON DC —The United States and Mexico today held the
inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Mexico Consultative Committee on Agriculture
(CCA), following renewal of the bilateral forum by the two governments in March

Mark E. Keenum, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Ambassador Richard T. Crowder, Chief Agricultural Trade Negotiator of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, led the U.S. delegation.  Under Secretary Beatriz Leycegui of the Ministry of the Economy (Economia) and Under Secretary Francisco Lopez Tostado of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries, and Food Supply (SAGARPA) led the delegation from Mexico.

“The United
States and Mexico held constructive,
wide-ranging discussions today on a host of critical issues facing our
agricultural sectors.  Key among them is full implementation of the
remaining provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in
2008,” said Keenum.  

“The agricultural trade teams of both countries will
remain in close contact over the coming months to maintain momentum on
outstanding issues,” said Crowder.  “We remain confident that through
continued cooperation and dialogue, we can successfully reach full
implementation of NAFTA on Jan. 1, 2008, to the benefit of both our agricultural

Among other outcomes, the parties agreed to conduct
several technical assistance projects in Mexico in the
corn and dry bean areas to help prepare Mexican producers for NAFTA

"These new undertakings, together with the broad range of
U.S. technical assistance to
Mexico’s agricultural
producers and processors, demonstrate U.S. commitment to assuring a smooth
transition to full NAFTA implementation,” said Keenum.  “Moreover, the
United States will continue
to work with Mexico to build technical capacity in
areas of mutual concern.”

Officials also discussed pending U.S. and Mexican
farm legislation, biotechnology, and a number of sanitary and phytosanitary
issues.  The next U.S. Mexico CCA meeting, to be hosted by
Mexico, is tentatively scheduled for
November 2007.

The U.S.-Mexico CCA discussions followed a meeting of the
U.S.-Mexico Sweeteners Task Force on May 7.  The task force was created by
a July 2006 Agreement on Sweeteners Trade and includes both government and
private-sector members from each country.  The task force meeting allowed
private-sector members of the sweeteners industry, including sugar and
high-fructose corn syrup producers as well as sweeteners users, to provide
advice to government officials about the operation of the July Agreement and the
transition to full duty-free trade in sweeteners on Jan. 1, 2008. 

The relationship between the United States and Mexico in
agriculture is increasingly vital for both countries, with two-way trade in
agricultural goods topping $20 billion in 2006.