ASTA CEO says Mexican ban on biotech corn violates USMCA

The head of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) says Mexico’s upcoming ban on imports of GMO corn is a violation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Andy LaVigne tells Brownfield the ban isn’t science-based.  “It’s going to be really detrimental, not only to U.S. farmers, but the Mexican consumers,” he says. “The cost will go up dramatically. We’re trying to work through it with our government, with their government, our counterparts down there to try to find a solution.  But, for right now, it’s kind of bleak.”

ASTA and other ag groups like the National Corn Growers Association have urged the US to file a dispute under the ag chapter of the USMCA, which calls for cooperation between governments on the regulation of imports. 

He says Mexico will be hard-pressed to find enough non-GM corn to meet its needs.  “In order to have that much conventional corn, we have to have the seed in the bag today so farmers can plant it in March and April of this year and harvest it in the fall,” he says. “We don’t have that. There’s not that pathway. There’s not that pathway in Argentina, there’s not that pathway in Brazil. And obviously, you’re not getting it from Ukraine either.”

LaVigne says if the ban also includes corn used in feed for livestock, it would have a negative impact on feed costs, and would ultimately raise the prices consumers pay for products like pork and poultry. 

AUDIO: Andy LaVigne, American Seed Trade Association

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