USDA nominee calls for ‘science-based decision-making’ in Mexico

On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee held a hearing on a number of Biden administration nominations, including Alexis Taylor for the position of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. This position is within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Currently serving as director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Alexis Taylor was born and raised in Iowa. Her extensive background in public service, which includes time spent at the USDA, makes her “uniquely qualified for this role,” according to a letter of support from BIO and other businesses in the industry sent in June.

During the hearing, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) stated that it’s important to make sure that “science-based regulatory requirements are enforced, especially when it comes to trading in GMO corn with Mexico.

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador declared in December 2020 that the nation will ban the import of GM corn for human consumption by 2024. However, according to an economic impact report, the ban “acts as a trade protectionist measure” against farmers in the U.S. and other exporting countries, as Bio.News reported earlier.

According to Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), should Mexico ban biotech corn, the nation will be going against the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). She asked Taylor how she plans to enforce the USMCA’s biotechnology provisions.

“Should I be confirmed, I am very interested in engaging within the administration on what’s going on in Mexico around biotechnology and [with] my counterparts in Mexico to ensure we’re advancing science-based decision-making around the use of these critical tools,” responded Taylor.

“The underlying point here is about using science to make informed regulatory decisions,” continued Taylor. “That is how we do it in the United States, that is our expectation of our trading partners around the world.”

“We have huge challenges we’re experiencing globally. The war in Ukraine and the global food insecurity crisis that’s really exacerbating, coming off the heels of the global pandemic, climate change and the impacts to production,” said Taylor. “We’re going to need advancements in science and technology globally to address those challenges and continue to feed our growing world population.”

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