Mexico could reduce its U.S. imports of yellow corn by half when Mexico’s planned ban on GMO corn goes into force in 2024, Victor Suarez, deputy minister of agriculture in Mexico, told Reuters last week.
Suarez’s comments, published Thursday, are “the strongest indication yet” that the restriction will affect American corn, despite doubts about whether Mexico’s corn ban will actually take effect as intended, Reuters said.
Since late 2021, the Mexican regulatory body Cofepris has been “quietly deciding on GMO features,” that it would continue to accept under a ban, already rejecting 14 traits in maize, soybeans, cotton, and canola seeds, according to Agri-Pulse. However, specifics are “scarce” because Mexico has not yet made the findings public.
As Bio.News has reported, Mexico imports over 17 million tons of corn from the United States annually, up to 20% of which is used for food. A prohibition would have a significant impact on American farmers since, according to the USDA, around 90% of U.S. corn is genetically modified.
According to a recent assessment by World Perspectives Inc., this would compromise Mexico’s ability to feed its people. The price of tortillas would increase by 30% in the first year of the prohibition alone, and Mexico will have to spend $4.4 billion more for maize imports during the ensuing ten years as a result of the embargo.
“This translates to the loss of 138,000 jobs and a likely $4.3 billion reduction in Mexico’s GDP. In the U.S., economic output declines by $16.5 billion and GDP shrinks by $7.95 billion,” wrote BIO’s Lynne Finnerty for Bio.News in describing projected impacts.
Since their testimony before the Senate Finance Committee last year, BIO has pushed for legal action to enforce the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and stop the ban on GMO corn. Although the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) continues to work with their Mexican colleagues, a USTR spokesperson reportedly told Agri-Pulse that “all alternatives are on the table,” including treaty enforcement action.