December 1, 2022
US may take legal action if Mexico proceeds with GM corn ban
Tom Vilsack, US Agriculture Secretary, has warned the president of Mexico that the US would be forced to take legal action if no "acceptable resolution" was found for Mexico's plan to ban genetically modified (GM) corn, BBC News reported.
Vilsack said the ban would have a significant impact on trade between both countries. He met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to inform him of the concern that US farmers have over the ban.
Mexico claims that its own ancient native corn varieties are in danger from GM seeds. The country purchases a significant amount of its corn from the US, making it the second-largest corn importer in the world after China.
But a Mexican minister said last month that this ban might cause Mexico to cut its imports of yellow corn from the US in half.
On December 31, 2020, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador signed a presidential decree mandating the phase-out of GM corn by end-January 2024.
The decree greatly worried US corn exporters, and as the deadline draws near, the US is working harder to persuade President López Obrador to drop or ease the proposed ban.
Vilsack said the US would be forced to consider all options, including taking formal steps to enforce our legal rights under the USMCA, referring to the free trade agreement between the US, Mexico, and Canada.
One of the Mexican president's election campaign pledges was to outlaw GM corn. He insisted Mexico was a sovereign free country and that they do not want GM earlier this month.
López Obrador said there hasn't been enough scientific research into GM corn affects native varieties of corn in Mexico.
Mexico takes pride in being the country where, thousands of years ago, humans first started domesticating corn, and it has dozens of heirloom varieties to prove it.
However, it heavily depends on yellow corn imports from the US to feed its livestock and make sauces.
- BBC News