Potential policy and trade impacts of Mexico’s biotech corn ban

An agriculture policy expert says there could be unnecessary fallouts in policy and trade relationships if Mexico’s biotech corn ban isn’t lifted.

John Beghin, Yanney Chair and professor with the Clayton Institute of International Trade and Finance with the University of Nebraska says the US has a reasonable case if the Biden administration files a trade dispute under the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. “Mexico refused or turned down 14 applications or new traits without explanation or risk assessment, which is a blatant violation of USMCA chapters.”

But, Beghin says, the outcome of the dispute process is not simple. “You have to make a petition to ask for an establishment of the panel. The facts have to go to the panel.  The panel has to assess, and then you have an appeals process.  That could potentially take years.”

Beghin says if the decree is permitted, it could disrupt global markets for several years. “(There’s) only a few large players who can provide that kind of import volume to Mexico.  Mexico doesn’t have too many choices.”

He tells Brownfield the process will show if Mexico is a reputable trading partner. “I would push to establish the dispute process and actually go through the dispute process and see what Mexico does.”

He says corn imports from other countries would be more expensive, too, since transportation costs from the US are much cheaper.

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