After Mexico trip on GMO issue, McKalip, Taylor threaten trade action
|After traveling to Mexico City on Monday to discuss Mexico’s decision to end the use of genetically engineered products, Doug McKalip, the chief U.S. agricultural trade negotiator, and Alexis Taylor, the agriculture undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, signaled that the negotiations had not made progress, and that if the issue is not resolved, the United States will consider taking a trade action against Mexico.|
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has decreed Mexico will phase out the use and importation of genetically engineered corn and other products by Jan. 31, 2024.
After the meeting, in a joint statement, McKalip and Taylor said, “U.S. officials continue to engage with our Mexican counterparts at the highest levels to address our grave concerns with Mexico’s biotechnology policies.”
“We appreciate the active engagement between U.S. and Mexican government officials following U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s trip to Mexico in November, and the proposed modifications to the presidential decree shared by Mexico at the end of 2022.
“However, these changes are not sufficient and Mexico’s proposed approach, which is not grounded in science, still threatens to disrupt billions of dollars in bilateral agricultural trade, cause serious economic harm to U.S. farmers and Mexican livestock producers, and stifle important innovations needed to help producers respond to pressing climate and food security challenges.
“Our trip further underscores the importance of resolving this issue and we conveyed our continued commitment to strengthening our economic and trade relationship with Mexico. In our meetings today, we reemphasized the concerns previously expressed by Secretary Vilsack and [U.S. Trade Representative] Ambassador [Katharine] Tai.
“We appreciate our Mexican counterparts’ time and dedication in trying to hammer out a solution. We made it clear today that if this issue is not resolved, we will consider all options, including taking formal steps to enforce our rights under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement.”
|The National Corn Growers Association applauded the development.|
NCGA President Tom Haag said, “This is significant development and good news for corn growers. Secretary Vilsack and USTR Ambassador Tai are making it crystal clear that they are going to make the Mexican government abide by what it agreed to under USMCA.”
“These leaders understand that banning biotech corn would deliver a blow to American farmers and exacerbate current food insecurity in Mexico by drastically raising prices for corn, basic foods and other critical products derived from corn in the Mexican economy.”
|Beth Ellikidis, vice president for agriculture and environment at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, said in an email, ”BIO appreciates USDA and USTR’s ongoing effort to get Mexico to adhere to its commitments under USMCA [the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade] and maintain a science-based risk regulatory system for agricultural biotechnology in order to facilitate agricultural trade throughout North America.”|