U.S. requests dispute settlement under USMCA with Mexico

U.S. requests dispute settlement under USMCA with Mexico
Jun 05, 2023

Ag groups are pleased the government is taking this step

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The United States is asking for dispute settlement consultations with Mexico under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the request on June 2 in response to “Mexican measures concerning products of agricultural biotechnology.”

Dispute settlement rules are in Chapter 31 of the USMCA.

The Mexican government published a decree in February that calls for a ban on GMO corn in tortillas or dough and instructs the government to gradually phase out GMO corn in all produces for human consumption and for animal feed.

These phase out measures would begin in 2024.

This move, according to the U.S., is “inconsistent with several of (Mexico’s) obligations in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Market Access chapters of the USMCA.”

Mexico is the second-largest market for U.S. corn, importing nearly $5 billion of it in 2022. This includes about 17 million metric tons of GMO yellow corn used for animal feed.

Multiple farm groups are pleased the U.S. government is taking the dispute settlement route with Mexico.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) thanked Representative Tai for taking the steps to hold Mexico accountable for a decision not based in science.

“AFBF appreciates U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai for bringing a case against Mexico over its ban of bioengineered corn. Unfortunately, Mexico’s President Obrador continues to ignore science and the framework of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a statement.

And banning GMO corn would hurt families on both sides of the border, the U.S. Grains Council said.

“The result of this decree as written will be to raise corn prices in Mexico, further exacerbating food security issues there, while also trying to block biotechnology as an important tool U.S. farmers can use to sustainably feed the world,” the organization said in a statement. “We will do all in our power to support the U.S. government’s consultations so free and fair trade of corn between the United States and Mexico continues as was agreed to in USMCA.”

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