U.S. Grains Council (USGC) leaders traveled to Mexico this week to hear customer concerns about the state of trade relations between the two countries and offer reassurances about U.S. grains producers’ dedication to their market.
Chairman Chip Councell, a farmer from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and President and CEO Tom Sleight traveled to Mexico City, Guadalajara and Merida, accompanied by USGC’s Mexico Director Ryan LeGrand and Assistant Director Heidi Bringenberg.
In meetings with top grain importers and government officials, the group focused on the importance of the U.S.-Mexico trading relationship to the U.S. farmers and grain traders who make up USGC’s membership.
Since NAFTA entered into force more than 20 years ago, the U.S. and Mexican agriculture industries have become increasingly integrated, with Mexico now the largest market for U.S. corn, the second largest customer for U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and a leading buyer of U.S. sorghum and barley.
The Trump administration’s trade policy statements in recent months, combined with an election cycle in which candidates from both U.S. political parties routinely spoke negatively about trade, have caused serious concerns for USGC and its membership.
“Our goals this week were to listen to our customers and let them know how critical their business is to our industry and how much we value the work we do with them,” Sleight said.
“We have worked closely with the Mexican industry for decades as partners, helping them build their capacity, while their purchases and their loyalty have helped our farmers build their operations. We are here to make clear that we are dedicated to sustaining, improving and expanding that work together in any way we can.”
Find more information on the U.S.-Mexican trading relationship here.