Canada remains the number one market for U.S. agricultural products, followed by Japan and Mexico. Asia was the largest regional market, thanks to increasing business with China.
But Europe, while remaining an important export market for U.S. farmers, seems a less inviting place. Trade conflicts with the European Union on everything from basic feed grains to French truffles seem common. This week, U.S. farm trade interests encountered another roadblock ... this time on biotech foods.
A WTO spokesperson said it isn't unusual for the trade organization to seek scientific advice. For example, scientists have been called in to assist panels dealing with disputes over animal and plant health issues as well as asbestos.
An anti-biotech group, Friends of the Earth Europe, called the WTO decision a "first round" victory for the E.U. U.S. officials say they will continue with the WTO case until they see a "predictable, ongoing process" based on science, not politics.
The E.U. had ended its six-year moratorium last May when it allowed onto the market, a modified strain of sweetcorn, grown mainly in the U.S. Another herbicide-resistant corn was approved for animal feed last month. But those decisions were made by the E.U.'s executive commission ... after ministers from the 25 member governments deadlocked on the applications.