Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is leading a Congressional trade delegation in South America, meeting this week with foreign ministers and other leaders in Brazil and Argentina. Grassley says they’re discussing agricultural trade positions prior to the next round of World Trade Organization talks.
Grassley says “The Brazilians expect us to change our farm program before we know what the negotiations are going to allow us to do. I make it very clear that that’s buying a pig in the poke for the American farmer. We are not going to change our farm program until the negotiations are done.” Grassley, a Republican, chairs the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over international trade.
Grassley says he’s pushing for strong promotion of genetically-modified soybeans to increase acceptance of U.S.-grown beans. He says up to 40-percent of Brazilian farmers are using G-M-O soybeans and many are not paying the usual fees associated with so-called Round-Up Ready beans.
Grassley says “The American farmer pays quite a royalty for the use of that product. It’s not very uniformly applied down here in South America and we spoke to the Brazilian government about the importance of their enforcing that royalty law so that the Brazilian farmer does not have an unfair competition towards the American farmer.” Grassley is due back in Washington late Sunday.