Vilsack to meet with Mexican officials Friday to discuss GM corn decree

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is set to meet with Mexican officials for a second time Friday over the country’s proposed ban on biotech corn.

During a call with reporters Thursday, Vilsack said if Mexico doesn’t allow imports of GM corn, then he supports filing a trade dispute with the United States Trade Representative. “That hasn’t changed and it’s not going to change.”

Vilsack met with Mexico’s president last month and he says he’s hopeful a second round of talks will move the needle. “We hope that we continue to see corn that is produced in the United States to Mexico, and we hope to see consistency and adherence to the terms and conditions to USMCA, or a process in which we trigger the dispute resolution aspect of USMCA.”

A bipartisan group of Senators and the National Corn Growers Association, each sent a letter to President Biden on Thursday asking him to take additional steps to address the decree and file a trade dispute under the agreement.

Nebraska Corn Growers Association President Andy Jobman tells Brownfield he’s encouraged that the two countries are meeting because Mexico is a valuable trading partner. “Transportation costs are fairly cheap compared to shipping corn around the world.  Any hiccup or loss of a market that close would be really detrimental to us.”

Jobman raises white corn and says the decree would also ban that crop. “White corn is really a specialty market, but it is still fairly sizeable.  That would also have a tremendous impact.”  

US Senators Deb Fischer, (R-Neb.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)  also sent a bipartisan letter on Thursday with 24 other Senators to USDA and USTR.

Jobman says Fischer and Congressman Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) have been leading a leading voice for farmers on the issue in Washington.

Additional cosigners of the letter include U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.), Debbie Stabebow (D-Mich.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Michael Rounds (R-S.D.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

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