(Jan. 31) Froylan Gracia says he believes U.S.-Mexican agricultural trade relations are good.

Gracia’s opinion counts, as he was named Jan. 16 as acting head of the agricultural office at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C.

“Mexico has to do more export promotion and address issues in cooperation with the U.S. and Canada to build upon the market,” he said Jan. 29.

While there is still friction on some issues — Mexico’s antidumping case against U.S. apples is one point of contention — he said there are ongoing talks to resolve the issue.

“My understanding is that there have been talks of again starting a suspension agreement, but there is nothing definite yet,” he said.

The embassy’s previous agriculture minister, Enrique Lobo, has been given an agricultural leadership post at the Mexican Embassy in Ottawa. Lobo could not be reached for comment Jan. 29.

Gracia, who is one of several candidates for the permanent agriculture minister post, has served in the U.S. since 2000, when he took a post as an agricultural attaché. In November 2001, he was named the embassy’s agricultural counselor.

Gracia will serve as acting minister until Mexican Secretary of Agriculture Francisco Mayorga picks a permanent minister. Mayorga replaced Javier Usabiaga as Mexico’s top agriculture leader last fall when Usabiaga stepped down to run for a party leadership position.