Dispute Panel requested in GMO impasse
Mexico and the U.S. have reached an impasse over an import ban on genetically modified corn.
Mexico and the U.S. have reached an impasse over an import ban on genetically modified corn. This week, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai made good on her promise to ask for a dispute settlement panel under rules set down in the U.S. - Mexico - Canada free trade agreement.
The battle is over a decree published by the Mexican government in late 2020 banning the import of GMO corn for human consumption in January of this year. There are also plans to ban imports of GM corn for animal feed. Mexican officials argue biotech corn may affect human health, even when used in animal feed, but have yet to present proof of the claim.
A statement from Mexico's Economy Department says the measures under debate have no effect on trade and do not violate the USMCA.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack released a statement saying, in part, “Mexico’s approach to biotechnology is not based on science and runs counter to decades of evidence demonstrating its safety.”
Mexican farmers raise the bulk of the corn used in domestic food production, but do import about 15 percent of the U.S. corn crop each year.
Newly issued regulations have removed the start date for the ban along with replacing a hard date for implementation with a gradual substitution.
The yet to be selected panel of experts will have about six months to study the complaint and release its findings. Trade sanctions could follow if Mexico is found to have violated the rules of the trade pact.
For Market to Market, I’m David Miller.