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335938

Mexican president says government cannot buy genetically modified corn

MEXICO CITY, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Mexico's government cannot make purchases of yellow corn from the United States because it does not want genetically modified (GM) corn, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday.

The United States wanted to sell Mexico more yellow corn and Mexico declined, Lopez Obrador said in a regular news conference.

"There is a market for it but the government cannot make a purchase because we do not want GM," Lopez Obrador said, citing a lack of scientific investigation into its effects.

"We are a sovereign free country," he added.

Mexico has a controversial presidential decree that seeks to ban genetically modified corn in 2024 and phase out the herbicide glyphosate, found in Roundup.

The country imports some 17 million tonnes of U.S. corn a year and is on track to import even more this year, experts have said. U.S. farm lobbies insist the ban will cause billions of dollars in economic damage.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai discussed differences with Mexico over its energy sector and U.S. corn exports in a virtual meeting earlier in November, underlining "the importance of avoiding a disruption in U.S. corn exports." (Reporting by Valentine Hilaire in Mexico City Editing by Anthony Esposito and Matthew Lewis)

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