WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Barriers American rice encounters in market access in Mexico were the subject of a meeting this week between staff members of Congress’ General Accounting Office and USA Rice.

The meeting is part of a GAO investigation of Mexico’s compliance with NAFTA’s agricultural trade commitments. GAO is Congress’ investigative arm.

In the meeting, USA Rice highlighted the importance of NAFTA to opening the overall Mexican market to U.S. rice; the industry’s defense against Mexico’s anti-dumping ruling on long grain milled rice from the United States; and the critical importance of enforcement of trade agreements.

GAO also is interviewing other U.S. agricultural commodity groups that have faced similar market access barriers in Mexico, such as apples, beef, pork and corn (in the form of high fructose corn syrup).

The study on Mexico is being carried out at the request of Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.