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October 27, 2000

Governor Ryan, Mexican AG Secretaries Discuss Trade

DECATUR -- Governor Ryan today reaffirmed the need to continue the strong trade relationship with Mexico and discussed the clean air benefits of ethanol-blended fuels while visiting with Mexican agriculture secretaries Friday at a stop on a tour of the state's largest ethanol producer.

Governor Ryan welcomed the secretaries and other Mexican agriculture officials at Archer Daniels Midland in Decatur, part of a three-day tour of Illinois agricultural businesses and facilities.

"Mexico is already one of our top trading partners, buying $554 million in Illinois agricultural products in 1999 alone," Ryan said. "This business is essential for our farmers. More than 40 percent of our grain makes its way to foreign markets, so expansion of international trade and developing long-term relationships with our trading partners is vital to our farm profitability."

In the meeting, Governor Ryan also talked to the Mexican officials about utilizing biofuels, such as ethanol, to improve air quality in Mexico.

"Mexico City, it is a magnificent, bustling and growing city of about 23 million people, but because of that growth and because of the lack of clean fuels, there is a very significant air pollution problem," Ryan said. "Illinois has the technology and the corn and the soybeans to clean the air and improve the quality of life for residents of Mexico City."

Governor Ryan, Illinois Agriculture Director Joe Hampton and Department of Commerce and Community Affairs Director Pam McDonough recently traveled to Mexico City to discuss trade issues with President-Elect Vincente Fox and outgoing President Ernesto Zedillo. Director Hampton also led a trade mission to Mexico in March of this year.

"We all buy from people we know and trust," Hampton said. "This ongoing dialogue with our neighbors in Mexico continues to pay off in sales for Illinois farmers and businesses and cements the trust between us."

Friday's visit to ADM came on the final day of a three-day tour that included stops at the Chicago Board of Trade and Mercantile Exchange, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, "The Farm" exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry and a Central Illinois farm.


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