The U.S. Trade Representative announced today that it is filing a dispute settlement under the U.S.- Mexico-Canada Agreement in response to the steps Mexico has taken to ban biotech corn for human consumption.
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), which along with affiliated state associations, has been leading calls for the Biden administration to act, praised the development.
“Mexico’s actions, which are not based on sound science, have threatened the financial wellbeing of corn growers and our nation’s rural communities,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “We are deeply appreciative of Ambassador Katherine Tai and USTR for moving this process forward and thankful for the efforts of Secretary Tom Vilsack and members of Congress for standing up for farmers in such a meaningful way.”
Under USMCA, once a dispute settlement is filed, a group of objective experts will be empaneled to hear the case and make final determinations based on the commitments both parties signed as part of the free trade agreement.
The dispute stems from a 2020 decree by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador that sought to ban imports of biotech corn beginning in January 2024. Mexico issued a revised decree in February of this year that banned biotech corn for human consumption effective immediately and left the door open for a future ban on biotech corn for feed.
Mexico is a top market for corn, the number one agricultural export from the U.S., which has led to strong concerns over how the ban would impact U.S. farmers, rural economies and food security for the people of Mexico.
Given the high stakes, NCGA and corn grower leaders across the country began sounding the alarm last fall and have been calling on the Biden administration to initiate a dispute settlement under USMCA.