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“All Options” Considered by U.S. Over Mexico’s Corn Import Restrictions

Reuters writer Andrea Shalal reported yesterday that, “The United States will consider ‘all options,’ including a formal trade dispute panel, unless Mexico addresses Washington’s concerns over Mexico’s plan to limit imports of genetically modified corn, a senior U.S. trade official said on Wednesday.

The United States has threatened a trade dispute panel under a trilateral agreement with Mexico and Canada over the plan, which would ban genetically modified corn for human consumption.

“Mexico believes the disagreement is ‘politically motivated,’ its economy ministry said on Monday.”

Williams, Angelica, Claire Hutchins, Steven Zahniser, and Jayson Beckman, Feed Outlook: December 2022, FDS-22l, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, December 13, 2022.

The Reuters article added that, “The latest U.S. comments came days after U.S. Agriculture Tom Vilsack said a trade dispute panel under the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement would be the next step if talks were not successful, followed by talks between top U.S. trade negotiator Katherine Tai and Mexican Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro on Friday.

“‘These concerns are quite serious. Mexico’s policies are not based upon science,’ the official said. ‘They would cause serious harm to U.S. farmers and Mexican livestock producers, and can further stifle the very innovation … that we need to respond to climate change and food security challenges.'”

A news release yesterday from Rep. Nikki Budzinski (D, Il.) indicated that, “Today, [Congresswoman Budzinski] led a bipartisan letter with Representatives Darin LaHood (IL-16), Bill Foster (IL-11), Mike Bost (IL-12) and Mary Miller (IL-15) urging the U.S. Trade Representative to keep all options on the table to enforce trade commitments as Mexico considers a ban on genetically modified (GM) corn from the United States. The letter also requests updates on the negotiations with Mexico from Ambassador Tai.

“Illinois farmers are the second-largest producer of corn in the United States, with a large majority of such corn grown with GM seeds. Mexico’s ban is inconsistent with the terms of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”

And an update yesterday at AgWeb Online reported that, “The issue over Mexico’s plans to limit the amount of genetically modified corn continues to changeInitially, Mexico announced a plan in 2020 to ban the importation of GMO corn for human consumption, with the plan set to take effect in 2024. Since the initial announcement, Mexico issued more decrees, with the latest scrapping the 2024 deadline to ban genetically modified corn used for animal feed and industrial use. Instead, Mexico says the phasing out will depend on supply. However, Mexico still plans to prohibit the importation of GMO white corn used for flour and tortillas.

“Even with the latest decree, there’s still uncertainty on what the decree actually means for the future of U.S. corn exports to Mexico.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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