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U.S. rejects Mexico proposals on GMO corn trade

Mexico has failed to satisfy the “grave concerns” of the United States over a potential ban on imports of U.S.-grown GMO corn, said trade officials after negotiations in Mexico City on Monday.

“We made it clear today that if this issue is not resolved, we will consider all options, including taking formal steps to enforce our rights under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.” 

The ban would take effect in January 2024.

“We appreciate the active engagement between U.S. and Mexican government officials…and the proposed modifications to the presidential decree shared by Mexico at the end of 2022,” said U.S. chief agricultural negotiator Doug McKalip and Agriculture Undersecretary Alexis Taylor in a statement. “However, these changes are not sufficient.” 

Mexico reportedly offered to delay the ban on imports of yellow corn, used in livestock feed, until January 2025, after the expiration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s term of office. Lopez Obrador has been a driving force on the issue. Mexico’s agriculture minister suggested the delay would be acceptable to the Biden administration. White corn is used in making tortillas, an everyday food in Mexico.

McKalip and Taylor said “Mexico’s proposed approach, which is not grounded in science, still threatens to disrupt billions of dollars in bilateral agricultural trade, cause serious economic harm to U.S. farmers and Mexican livestock producers, and stifle important innovations needed to help producers respond to pressing climate and food security challenges.”

Mexico is one of the biggest customers for U.S. corn, almost all of which is grown from genetically modified seed.

After ministerial-level discussions in mid-December in Washington, the two nations said they hoped to reach a settlement in January.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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