Biden administration to take steps toward challenging Mexico corn ban

Corn waits to be harvested on land leased by Tempe Farming Co.
AP Photo/Darryl Webb
Corn waits to be harvested on land leased by Tempe Farming Co. Thursday, July 22, 2021, in Casa Grande, Ariz.

The Biden administration is preparing to challenge the Mexican ban on shipments of genetically modified corn from the U.S., a policy that has threatened billions of dollars in economic activity for American farmers.

The Mexican government is planning by next year to stop its imports of genetically modified corn, which makes up about 90 percent of what is grown in the U.S. The Biden administration said on Monday that it was requesting formal consultations with Mexico over the policy.

“Mexico’s policies threaten to disrupt billions of dollars in agricultural trade and they will stifle the innovation that is necessary to tackle the climate crisis and food security challenges if left unaddressed,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement. “We hope these consultations will be productive as we continue to work with Mexico to address these issues.”

Tai’s office said it was requesting talks with Mexico under the terms of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade pact. The official request comes after previous conversations between Tai and Mexican representatives in recent months.

Officials now have 30 days to discuss and resolve the issue, with the Biden administration saying it would “consider all options, including taking formal steps to enforce U.S. rights under the USMCA,” which could include tariffs on Mexican goods.

Mexican health officials are apprehensive of genetically modified corn, hesitancy that the scientific community and U.S. industry have pushed back against. 

Mexico bought $4.2 billion worth of corn from the U.S. in 2022, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, making it the second-largest market for U.S. corn in the world, trailing only China and ahead of Canada.

Tags Biden farming Katherine Tai Mexican corn ban U.S. trade representative USMCA

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