Mexico, US refuse to budge on biotech corn ban

Mexico and the United States are refusing to give up their positions on a decree that would ban biotech corn.  

Last week, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said consultations continue under the United States Mexico Canada Trade Agreement, but suggested the country would still seek to implement some form of the ban.  

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Ag Committee, says Mexico’s accusation that GM corn harms human health is false.  “There is nothing wrong with GMO corn. It is safe and it has been proved to be safe and the United States should not budge on that at all.”  

She says if the U.S. abides by the decree, it will set a bad precedent. “If we look other countries that would say that they are not going to accept something based on totally unscientific opinions that they may have.”  

Speaking with Brownfield at the Commodity Classic, grain analyst Matt Bennett with AgMarket.Net says Mexico won’t be able to supply enough livestock feed. “There are a couple of rail lines that are dedicated specifically to take corn to Mexico.  It is really hard for them to competitively purchase corn out of Brazil or Argentina to be able to compete with what they already have set up as infrastructure to take corn from the Midwest to Mexico.  I don’t think they’re going to go away from that.”  

Vice President of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association Michael Dibbern says the ban is a direct violation of USMCA. “It’s not us telling Mexico what they should or shouldn’t buy.  It’s helping their end users, and not allowing their government to intervene in their business.” 

On March 6, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office called for technical consultations with Mexico.  The country has one month to respond, and if a settlement is not reached, then the Biden administration says they’ll file a dispute settlement.   

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