Mexico says it will defend its position as dispute over biotech corn advances
Mexico says it will defend its position on the country’s policies to limit the use of biotech corn after the U.S. requested dispute settlement consultations.
Ryan LeGrand with the US Grains Councils says it is Mexico’s obligation under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to provide science and risk-based analysis behind its decision and Friday’s announcement by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is the next step in the process. “To date, they have not done that,” he says. “I think USTR has been waiting on information throughout the technical consultation period and they didn’t receive that. So I’m not sure what evidence they’re going to come up with now to counter.”
He says corn trade between Mexico and the U.S. is a mutually beneficial agreement and it’s critical that trade relations return to normal. “Mexico is afforded cheaper prices from the United States, more optionality with what they can do with their own crop,” he says. “They very much benefit from the import of our corn, just like our farmers do.”
LeGrand tells Brownfield he doesn’t expect the dispute to be resolved in this round of talks. “I’m thinking that there’s going to be another round or two of talks,” he says. “And that’s where we’re hoping that things can get sorted out and it doesn’t have to go to a full panel.”
He says the USTR’s actions set a precedent for future trade deals with other countries. “We have this clause in the agreement that says you must use the science and risk-based policies and we’re going to hold you to the agreement that you signed,” he says. “So that’s the message. I think it sends to the world, that when we negotiate these free trade agreements with these type of chapters in there, they must be honored.”
Ambassador Katherine Tai says the US will continue to work with the Mexican government to resolve concerns and maintain the trade relationship. Mexico is the U.S.’s largest agricultural trading partner in terms of combined exports and imports.
AUDIO: Ryan LeGrand, US Grains Council