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NCGA pushes USTR to act on trade issues with Mexico over corn

The National Corn Growers Association is asking the U.S. Trade Representative to intervene in a trade dispute with Mexico over its imports of corn.

Angus Kelly, Director of Trade and Biotechnology with NCGA, says the USTR needs to file a settlement dispute over Mexico’s potential ban of biotech corn. “And, give farmers and grain traders in rural America some legal clarity on what happens with these Mexico decrees that are supposed to be implemented at the end of next year because we’re out of time.”

Earlier this year, Mexico’s president said he would enact a decree that would end imports of corn grown using biotech and certain herbicides by 2024. Kelly says the USTR can file a trade dispute within the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

He tells Brownfield it’s unrealistic for one country to require non-biotech corn. “Growers aren’t going to switch for a lot of reasons. A lot of them having to do with soil conservation and insecticides. A lot of the insect resistant traits have activity on the insect pressure that our growers need.”

And, Kelly says, it isn’t cost effective to switch varieties. “One grower told me if he tried to grow non-GM feed corn or #2 yellow deck corn, it would cost about $12 per bushels. Now, I don’t know if Mexico or any country can afford $12 per bushel corn.”

He says it would also have a major impact on grain trade and U.S. research and development for corn varieties.

Biotech corn makes up nearly 90 percent of U.S. corn crops with 18 percent of white corn exported to Mexico.

Angus Kelly, Director of Trade and Biotechnology with NCGA:

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