Chairman Frank Lucas issued the following statement after the four principals met today to discuss outstanding issues relating to the farm bill.
Egypt Purchases an Additional 440,000 Tons of U.S. Wheat, Spain Buys 112,000 Tons of U.S. Corn Following Committee Trade Mission
WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Smith (R-OR) today announced that Egypt and Spain have both made large purchases of U.S. grain on the heels of the Committee's August trade mission to Egypt and Spain.
Continuing the Agriculture Committee's efforts to open up foreign markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers, Smith led an agricultural trade delegation, consisting of 6 Members of Congress, to Egypt and Spain during the August congressional recess.
In Spain, the delegation met with the Minister of Agriculture, various government officials, including representatives of the Ministry of the Environment, agricultural groups and grain importers stressing the need for Spain's support for opening additional corn tenders this year so that U.S. growers can take advantage of remaining quotas of almost one million tons. The delegation was successful in urging the Association of Spanish Cereal Traders to write to Spain's Ministry of Agriculture and request that they be provided an opportunity to purchase U.S. corn at the earliest time possible.
As a result, after announcing a tender of 200,000 tons, Spain purchased 112,000 tons of U.S. corn. After the buy, more than 50,000 tons remain available from the original tender, which will give U.S. growers further opportunities for selling their corn to the Spain.
"I'm delighted that after the European Union's long delay in approving our corn varieties, Spain has made this purchase," Smith said, "All along, we had willing buyers and willing sellers, it was only a matter of convincing the government to allow them to get together."
During the mission to Egypt, the congressional delegation met with President Hosni Mubarak and Ministers of Agriculture, Supply and Trade, and Health and conveyed appreciation and hopes for continued U.S. wheat sales which could amount to 66% of Egypt's market this year. Immediately prior to the departure of the congressional delegation, Egypt purchased 250,000 tons of United States wheat. In addition, Egypt purchased 200,000 tons of U.S. wheat during the delegation's trip.
Today, Egypt announced its purchase of another 440,000 tons of soft white wheat, bringing the value of Egypt's recent purchases up to almost $90 million.
"It's always gratifying to see such immediate benefits for our farmers come from our trade missions overseas," Smith said. "They work tirelessly to grow their crops, and I'm always glad to play a role in making sure they have the markets they need to sell them."
Smith represents Oregon's Second Congressional District — which includes most of eastern, central, and southern Oregon — in the U.S. House of Representatives.