Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), both members of the Agriculture Committee, wrote to ask U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to intervene in Mexico’s proposal to ban the import of genetically modified corn, saying they had conferred on the issue with Iowa farmers.
By January 2024, the planned corn ban will essentially bar the import of 90% of American corn the senators wrote, adding that 16 million tons of U.S. corn are sent to Mexico annually by Iowa farmers.
The senators from Iowa told Ambassador Tai in their letter that any halt in corn export would have a negative impact on their state’s economy and farmers, and the Corn Belt as a whole. For American farmers, Mexican President Obrador’s edict is not just a non-starter; it is also impossible to carry out, the senators said. Mexico’s leadership has given few signs that it would uphold its obligations under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), despite repeated entreaties for discussion over the past two years, the senators’ letter said.
“We are respectfully calling on you to formally request dispute settlement consultations under Article 31.4 of USMCA,” the senators wrote.
Potential loss of $73B
According to research by World Perspectives, Inc., the Mexican government’s prohibition on genetically modified (GM) corn will result in a loss of $73.89 billion in economic production and a $30.55 billion contraction of the U.S. economy during a ten-year period. Corn producers and business partners in the United States would lose $3.56 billion in the first year of Mexico’s prohibition and $5.56 billion in the second, the report, published in October, said.
Another report by World Perspectives Inc., published in June and produced for CropLife International, found that “the proposed corn ban will force North American grain handling systems into two streams (GM and non-GM corn), an approach that is costlier, disincentivizes innovation and subjects supply chains to greater volatility.”
The senators argue in their letter that 32,000 American jobs would be lost as a result of this economic collapse.
As we previously reported, Mexico imports around 17 million tons of U.S. corn per year, “with corn for human consumption accounting for between 18% and 20% of the total U.S. corn imports” in Mexico. Approximately 90% of U.S. corn is genetically engineered, according to the USDA.