Members of the Joint Trade Policy A-Team for the National Corn Growers Association and U.S. Grains Council discussed the changing trade policy attitudes in Washington, D.C. and around the world during trade meetings in Guatemala yesterday.

The team meeting was held in conjunction with the USGC's 6th International Marketing Conference and 49th Annual Membership Meeting. Discussion focused on the status of the World Trade Organization's Doha talks, Free Trade Agreements currently awaiting approval by the Congress, and implementation of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

"Together, we have made significant progress in recent years moving corn and products made from corn to new and emerging international markets," Ron Litterer, NCGA Chairman from Greene, Iowa said. "Additional changes are needed in the rules of how we trade that should be resolved in the WTO talks and FTAs. Failure to address these areas will have a direct impact on balance of trade and farm gate prices."

NCGA has responsibility for trade policy and USGC in foreign market development.

"Our partnership with the USGC is important for growers," Bill Hoffman, Chairman for the Joint Trade Policy A-Team from Columbus, Wisconsin said. "NCGA's efforts in Washington create the policies that enhance opportunities for the Council to build markets in other countries. We need both efforts to be successful."

The meeting in Guatemala is an excellent chance to discuss trade opportunities in developing countries, including those enhanced by implementation of CAFTA, which was passed by the Congress in 2005. "We have some great opportunities in Guatemala and other Central American countries to move corn and corn-based products," said Hoffman. "Our work to pass CAFTA makes these opportunities possible. We look forward to working with the Obama Administration and the Congress to promote other Free Trade Agreements that will provide similar opportunities."