USTR requests dispute settlement with Mexico over biotech corn ban
The United States Trade Representative has filed a formal dispute settlement with Mexico over its ban of biotech corn for human consumption and animal feed.
National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag tells Brownfield the filing that’s made possible under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is long overdue. “When we started talking about this in October, this is something that we are happy to see, and this is what we’ve been waiting for.”
He says it could take up to a year before a ruling is issued, but USTR should have a winnable case that’s based in science. “Our feeling is that we can still go in there with a positive feeling that it’s a safe product, it’s OK for humans to use it in their food consumption for especially the white corn for their tortillas and chips.”
In a statement, USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai says the US has repeatedly conveyed its concerns that Mexico’s policies are not science-based, and any ban disrupts exports, markets, American innovation and food security.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says USMCA was written to ensure producers have full and fair access to markets in all three countries. He says the ban doesn’t embrace fair, open and scienced based rules and biotechnology has been proven safe for decades.
The US Grains Council fully supports the dispute and says the decree will raise corn prices in Mexico, which exacerbates food security issues and blocks biotechnology as a tool that helps farmers sustainability feed the world.
Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau President, says AFBF supports the dispute settlement and the ban hurts families in Mexico who rely on safe and affordable food grown in the US.
Ranking member of the Senate Ag Committee John Boozman says Mexico has adopted policies that are inconsistent with USMCA and detrimental to US farmers.