The recent changes in both the Brazilian and Argentine governments are highlighting their interests in becoming pro-business – and in agriculture’s case, pro-trade. This change in attitude from the largest South American corn producing countries is creating urgency in the United States for the completion of the two multilateral trade agreements that are still pending, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).
In Brazil a new slate of cabinet officials was announced earlier this month, including Blairo Maggi – once the largest soybean farmer in Matta Grosso - as the new minister of agriculture.
“Maggi and other new cabinet officials, like Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Jose Serra, are believed to be a positive step for the country, and especially the local agriculture sector,” said U.S. Grains Council Regional Director of the Western Hemisphere Marri Carrow. “In addition, there are signs these new members of the cabinet are more likely to seek new trading agreements and tariff reliefs to help their country’s economy.”
Meanwhile in Argentina, President Mauricio Macri’s policy changes are starting to have an impact. Argentine customs data show that the country’s wheat and corn exports more than doubled in the first quarter as Argentine farmers gained access to the open market.
“The new macroeconomic situation has made Argentine agricultural exports much more competitive and improved returns for local agricultural producers,” Carrow said.
As Brazil and Argentina increase their production and begin to improve their transportation infrastructure, U.S. farmers will need to find ways to remain competitive in the global market.
“In order for the United States to remain a leader in the global agricultural trading community, we need preferential market access and to improve the U.S. transportation infrastructure,” Carrow said. “We can’t sit still while our competitors continue to produce large, bountiful harvests that are impacting our producers’ bottom lines.”
The Council and its sister grower organizations are hopeful TPP, which is in the process of being ratified in the United States and other member countries, will be approved this year, while continuing to engage in the ongoing T-TIP negotiations on behalf of the grains industry.
Source: U.S. Grains Council