The United States leaves Mexico 'without an opportunity';  ask questions about transgenic corn

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced on Monday that it is already requesting technical consultations with the Government of Mexico, in relation to biotechnology productsespecially for transgenic corn.

Consultations are requested under the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Chapter of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (T-MEC).

“The United States has repeatedly broadcast our Serious Concerns With Mexico’s Biotech Policies and the importance of adopting a science-based approach that meets its USMCA commitments. Mexico’s policies threaten to disrupt billions of dollars in agricultural trade and they will stifle the innovation that is needed to address the climate crisis and food security challenges if they are not addressed. We look forward to these consultations being productive as we continue to work with Mexico to address these issues.” Ambassador Katherine Tai.

In the same statement, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that he appreciates the sustained and active commitment of the Mexican government, but remains firm in his view that Mexico’s current biotech trajectory is not based on science, which is the basis of the USMCA.

The Mexican government has moved to limit imports and use of US GM cornsaying that it could represent a danger for the health of the citizens of the Nation. The United States asserts that Mexico’s concern is not based on science.

Government of Mexico vs. transgenic corn

The government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador issued a new decree in February, which establishes the use, sale, distribution, promotion and import of glyphosate and transgenic corn.

With this new decree, government agencies and entities are instructed to refrain from acquiring, using, distributing, promoting and importing genetically modified corn (transgenic corn), as well as glyphosate. Tom Vilsack said at the time that he was disappointed by the decree that prevented the export of GM corn to Mexico.

Efforts by the Mexican government to block imports of GM corn from the United States have become one of the major trade irritants between Mexico and its neighbor to the north.

Mexico denies affectation

For her part, the Ministry of Economy responded to the request of american government arguing that Mexico’s policy is consistent with the USMCA and denied that there is a commercial affectation by the decree of February 13, where the prohibition is detailed.

“Mexico will take advantage of this mechanism provided for in the USMCA to demonstrate with data and evidence that there has been no commercial affectation and that, on the contrary, the decree is consistent with the Treaty itself,” he said in a statement, stating that the consultations are not of a contentious nature, but rather a stage to find a solution cooperatively.

Economytogether with Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) and other authorities, will coordinate the government’s position to find a satisfactory solution.

A person close to the procedure told El Financiero that the US actions were to be expected because the Treaty establishes that any measure adopted must be based on scientific evidence and the risk assessment must be done before taking that action.

About, Samantha Atayde, partner at RHH Consultoreswarned that Mexico and the US have had numerous rapprochements between authorities that have not been fruitful, so it is most likely that Mexico is soon facing its next trade dispute.

“The fact that there are commercial effects or not is not a justification that exempts from compliance with the USMCA obligations“, said.

what’s next

Jorge Molina, international trade consultant, explained that the technical inquiries are based on Chapter 9 Article 19 of the USMCA, which unlike Chapter 31, these can give more time. No later than 30 days, by April 5, there must be a Mexico-US meetingand if after that meeting it is seen that there are possibilities of resolving the issue through queriesthere would be 150 more days of period, that is, until September 2.

“If after that meeting, which has to take place no later than April 5, the US considers that there is no understanding, then it could request the panel installation”, he commented. The panel would have 120 days for an initial report.

Celebrate in the US

The president of the Senate Finance Committee Ron Wyden, He welcomed the news, saying it shows the US is serious about enforcing trade agreements. Meanwhile, the Senator John Boozman praised the answer of Katherine Tai and indicated that Mexico is a clear example of a partner that goes back on its word.

“It is time to send a strong message to the government of mexico and return to the science-based trading system and the obligations that both countries committed to when we signed the USMCA”, commented Nancy Travis, vice president of international affairs at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

The National Association of Corn Producers applauded the decision USTR and called for holding Mexican officials accountable for the commitments they made under the USMCAwhich include accept biotech and non-biotech products.

“We need the US officials act quickly and do whatever is necessary to remove this trade barrier in the very near future,” said Association President Tom Haag.

In Mexico, the National Agricultural Council (CNA)assured that he trusts that solutions will be found before the conflict escalates to a panel of dispute resolution.

“The dispute was narrowed down significantly in the last decree, and leaves out most of the corn trade flows between the US and Mexico”, said the organization.

With information from Bloomberg.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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