Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Mexico’s Agriculture Secretary Alberto Cardenas and Economy Secretary Eduardo Sojo has signed a memorandum of understanding to re-establish the U.S.-Mexico Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA).

“The United States and Mexico have a longstanding, excellent bilateral trade relationship,” said Johanns. “The CCA has proven to be an important venue for addressing and resolving issues that arise between our countries.

“It provides a mechanism to work out problems before they become larger, more formal disputes. This renewed CCA will help maintain the close working relationships that have developed between our leaders and trade facilitators.”

The CCA, which was previously signed by U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab, has served historically as a forum for important trade issues related to market access, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, biotechnology and animal and plant health.

Mexico was a global leader in reopening its market to U.S. beef after the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in U.S. cattle in December 2003.

Mexico is the United States’ second largest agricultural market, and the United States is Mexico’s most important trade destination.

Two-way agricultural trade flows between the United States and Mexico topped $20 billion in 2006.