Dear Senator Durbin-
Thank you joining colleagues in the Senate in asking USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis to make international regulatory predictability related to agricultural biotechnology a trade policy priority for the U.S. agriculture sector. Your leadership on this issue is very important to the U.S. economy, and certainly to Illinois.
America has a big trade surplus in agriculture because our farmers export a large percentage of soybeans, corn, and cotton to other countries. Roughly 90 percent of Illinois export crops have been improved using biotechnology to withstand weeds, pests, and harsh weather conditions. It is therefore essential for farmers, seed makers, and grain handlers that the international regulatory system function without prejudice to our farmers.
We look forward to working with you on other agricultural trade related matters in the days ahead. In the meantime, thanks once again for your leadership on this issue.
With best regards,