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U.S. threatens legal steps over Mexico’s planned GMO corn ban

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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks after attending a march with supporters to mark his fourth year in office, in Mexico City, Mexico November 27, 2022. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan

  • The countries are already in dispute resolution talks over Mexican energy policies, which the United States argues violates the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade pact.
  • The planned ban would halve Mexico’s imports of yellow corn from the United States, a Mexican agriculture official told Reuters in October.

The
United States on Monday threatened legal action against Mexico’s plan to ban
imports of genetically modified corn in 2024, saying it would cause huge
economic losses and significantly impact bilateral trade.

The countries are already in dispute resolution talks over Mexican
energy policies, which the United States argues violates the U.S.-Mexico-Canada
(USMCA) trade pact.

Citing the “deep concerns” of U.S. farmers over Mexico’s
impending ban on genetically modified corn, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom
Vilsack said in a statement following a meeting with Mexican President Andres
Manuel Lopez Obrador: “”We must find a way forward soon.”

“I
emphasized in no uncertain terms that – absent acceptable resolution of the
issue – the U.S. Government would be forced to consider all options, including
taking formal steps to enforce our legal rights under the USMCA,” he
added.

The planned ban would halve Mexico’s imports of yellow corn from
the United States, a Mexican agriculture official told Reuters in October.

Supporters of the plan say genetically modified seeds
could contaminate Mexico’s age-old native varieties.

Vilsack said Lopez Obrador had reaffirmed the importance of yellow
corn imports for Mexico’s food security, and that he was expecting to soon
receive a proposal from the president on a potential dialogue over the issue.

“Mexico’s import ban would cause both massive economic losses
for Mexico’s agricultural industries and citizens, as well as place an
unjustified burden on U.S. farmers,” Vilsack said, warning that the move
would “have significant impact on the U.S.-Mexico trade
relationship.”

Total
U.S.-Mexican trade amounted to over $587 billion in the first nine months of
this year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.



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