There are myriad reasons for the surge in corn demand. The prospect of a rollback in Mexican import quotas, a strike by Argentina's farmers, drought, and growing demand for water in China are causing corn, wheat, cotton, and oilseed prices to firm, if not climb.
Additionally, members of the World Trade Organization are nearing, albeit at a glacial pace, an agreement that will level the field for trade. Critical to any agreement is the endorsement of the European Union. This week, EU officials indicated their membership is edging closer to agreement with the U.S. and other nations seeking to remove subsidies that distort trade and national economies.
European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy (lah-ME') was in Washington this week addressing several issues. Though work appears to be moving at what is best described as a snail's pace, a few issues have been made slightly clearer than mud.
Currently on the table, among many items, are those of agricultural subsidies, export subsidies, and anti-dumping legislation.
Commissioner Pascal Lamy: "And of course in agricultural we already have sort of free framing of the negotiation, reduction of trade distorting domestic support, reduction of export subsidies, increasing market access ..."
Lamy (lah-ME') further stated the need to give certain European provinces the right to control the name of regional delicacies. The measure would allow for those countries to charge a premium for their specialty goods.
Commissioner Pascal Lamy: " And that the connection between intellectual property and sort of traditional names, is extremely important. I mean India knows what Basmati rice is about even developed countries like Japan know what Kobe Beef is about."
Though Lamy (lah-ME') was quick to point out that negotiations were far from complete he stated his willingness to return to the U.S. to continue with work towards a favorable outcome for both sides.