Mexico’s treatment of biotech corn needs urgent action, U.S. lawmakers say

Ahead of a key meeting between the U.S. and Mexico later this week, bipartisan U.S. House Ways & Means Committee members are calling for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to request dispute settlement consultations regarding Mexico’s treatment of agricultural biotech.

On Friday, U.S. Reps. Adrian Smith (R-NE) and Dan Kildee (D-MI) organized a letter urging U.S. Trade Rep. Ambassador Katherine Tai to take action on Mexico’s treatment of ag biotech, specifically biotech corn.

The letter, signed by 24 House Ways & Means Committee members, voiced concern about the recent government moves in Mexico that aren’t in line with the agricultural biotech commitments in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“Unfortunately, the Mexican government has not fulfilled its biotech-related commitments in the USMCA. Accordingly, we urge USTR to promptly request dispute settlement consultations with Mexico on these issues,” says the letter.

The letter also argues the “Mexican government has not maintained a science-based biotech regulatory system for the past four years and is moving forward with the implementation of a presidential decree to phase out the importation of genetically engineered corn by January 2024.”

“These policies are not based on science and may decrease the supply of corn in North American agricultural supply chains,” they said, citing a recent report supported by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).

Mexico’s ban could have serious implications in other segments

Mexico’s inability to uphold an open, transparent, and science-based biotech regulatory system goes beyond how it handles corn and will affect the entire agricultural sector.

“Cotton, canola, and soybeans products with biotech traits have also been hampered by inconsistency and uncertainty in Mexico’s regulatory system, which also has an impact on the price of food and goods,” the letter says.

BIO thanks Reps. Smith and Kildee for their leadership on this issue—who join U.S. Senators and the farm and biotech industries in urging USTR to take action to get Mexico to resume science- and risk-based regulatory approval processes for all agricultural biotechnology products to ensure food security.

The letter comes ahead of a possible meeting on December 16, between U.S. and Mexican officials aimed at discussing the country’s new proposals to revise the agricultural regulations, according to Reuters.

Mexico is set to ban GM corn by 2024. As Bio.News previously reported, the ban “acts as a trade protectionist measure” against farmers in the U.S. and other exporting countries.

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