Mexico’s proposed ban of biotech corn received a lot of attention when the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee convened yesterday for a trade-focused hearing on the 2023 Farm Bill.
The issue came up during questioning of USDA Trade Undersecretary Alexis Taylor.
“When it comes to agricultural trade, the concern I hear most from Iowans is access to Mexico’s corn Market,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IW), adding this issue “is not being met with the urgency that it deserves.”
The proposed decree could have a great impact on corn growers in the U.S. and globally, Taylor agreed. “But much broader than that, fundamentally, our trading system, globally but also within the USMCA, is built on science-based policies.”
Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska said she has been urging discussion on the matter for months, and in December of last year, she led a letter to USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) calling for pushback on Mexico’s GMO corn ban. She said the Biden administration must take into account all available alternatives, including potential enforcement under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), to compel Mexico to its trade commitments. “As we look toward the next Farm Bill, it will be critical to ensure that these programs do continue,” Fischer said.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) added: “I’m concerned about this administration’s lack of attention to expanding market access for U.S. Agricultural products. I hope your and USTR Ag Chief Negotiator (Doug) McKalip’s appointments are turning points when it comes to ag trade.”
Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IW) and Roger Marshall (R-KN) joined Grassley, Thune, and Fischer in asking the USDA to commit to rejecting Mexico’s position and filing for legal remedies via the USMCA.