USMCA has trade rules – let’s stick to them, says BIO

As U.S. President Joe Biden attends the North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and a number of organizations involved in agriculture are urging the governments of the three biggest countries in North America to uphold the ideals of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The statement notes the benefits of the agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“Mexico, the United States, and Canada have the largest trilateral agricultural trade relationship in the world, positioning North America as a critical region for sustaining global food security,” says the statement. Trade agreements contributed to a 769.7% growth in the value of agricultural trade in North America from $7.7 billion in 1994 to $67.1 billion in 2021.

Unfortunately, the statement notes, Mexico has announced it will begin to impose a ban on imports of biotech corn starting in 2024.

“We urge an expeditious resolution of agriculture-related trade disputes and irritants, particularly including Mexico’s proposed ban on some uses of biotech corn,” the statement says.

Tom Vilsack, the U.S. agriculture secretary, said in a news conference yesterday that there will be no concessions when he responds to Mexico’s latest offer, a proposal to modify the ban, according to Progressive Farmer. Vilsack said his response is due by Jan. 15. Secretary Vilsack notified the president of Mexico that the United States is prepared to take legal action against the planned prohibition in accordance with the terms of the USMCA, according to Progressive Farmer.

“USMCA’s enhanced provisions for agricultural biotechnology set it apart from previous trade agreements,” says Beth Ellikidis, BIO VP of Agriculture & Environment. “We are hopeful that the discussions taking place this week in Mexico City will affirm the importance of agricultural innovation.”

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