MANHATTAN, Kan. — After Mexico suddenly moved its GMO corn ban to take effect immediately, the Kansas Corn Growers Association (KCGA) is calling for a swift response by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). KCGA is calling on the USTR to initiate a dispute settlement under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). On Monday, Mexico officials issued a new decree calling for a ban on imports of biotech corn used for certain purposes, effective now. The decree indicated the Mexican government would continue to allow imports of biotech corn used as animal feed while exploring substitutes.
KCGA and National Corn Growers Association expressed serious concern with the accelerated implementation timeline. Mexico has been the top export market for U.S. corn in four of the past five years, and over 90 percent of the U.S. corn crop is GMO.
“Our corn growers need the Mexico market, and Mexico needs our corn. The USMCA is supposed to protect its member countries from unfair trade barriers and that trade agreement must be upheld,” said KCGA President Brent Rogers, Hoxie. “Mexico’s trade barrier banning GMO corn imports is not based on sound science. Regulators and health organizations around the world have determined the safety and benefits of GMO crops.”
NCGA President Tom Haag said Mexico must be held accountable within the USMCA.
“The Biden administration has been more than patient with Mexico as U.S. officials have sought to enforce a rules-based trading system and stand up for American farmers,” said National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag. “The integrity of USMCA, signed by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador himself, is at stake. Singling out corn – our number one ag export to Mexico – and hastening an import ban on numerous food-grade uses makes USMCA a dead letter unless it’s enforced.”
President López Obrador initiated a decree in late 2020 that would ban imports of biotech corn effective January 31, 2024. The Biden administration and Congress have worked closely with Mexican officials over the last several months to head off the ban, which would be catastrophic for American corn growers as well as the Mexican people, who depend on corn as a major staple of their food supply.
Those talks culminated in a letter from a Biden administration official late last week calling for Mexico to provide further explanation and justification for the original decree. While the Mexican government had appeared to be seeking a more pragmatic position to promote food security in recent weeks, the latest decree sends a message that Mexico is doubling down on its original position.
Biotechnology has revolutionized farming, allowing farmers to grow more corn and other crops to feed more people using less land, chemicals and resources. U.S. regulators and leading science and health organizations around the world have determined and long maintained that biotech products currently on the market are safe and beneficial.