Tai requests consultations with Mexico on ag biotechnology
Trade Representative Katherine Tai today announced that the United States has requested dispute settlement consultations with Mexico on “certain Mexican measures concerning products of agricultural biotechnology” under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
In the consultations request, USTR noted, “Since August 2021, Mexico has rejected certain authorization applications covering corn, canola, cotton and soybean GE (genetically engineered) events. In the context of Mexico’s regime governing GE products, this means it is illegal to import and sell in Mexico products that include the rejected events.”
“The United States has repeatedly conveyed its concerns that Mexico’s biotechnology policies are not based on science and threaten to disrupt U.S. exports to Mexico to the detriment of agricultural producers, which in turn can exacerbate food security challenges. Mexico’s biotechnology policies also stifle agricultural innovation that helps American farmers respond to pressing climate challenges, increase farm productivity, and improve farmers’ livelihoods,” said Tai. “We will continue to work with the Mexican government through these consultations to resolve our concerns and help ensure consumers can continue to access safe and affordable food and agricultural products.”
“USDA supports success for all farmers, and that means embracing fair, open, science- and rules-based trade. In this spirit, the USMCA was written to ensure that producers in all three countries have full and fair access to each other’s markets,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We fundamentally disagree with the position Mexico has taken on the issue of biotechnology, which has been proven to be safe for decades. Through this action, we are exercising our rights under USMCA while supporting innovation, nutrition security, sustainability, and the mutual success of our farmers and producers.”
USTR explained, “These consultations regard measures set out in Mexico’s Feb. 13, 2023, decree, specifically the ban on use of biotechnology corn in tortillas or dough, and the instruction to Mexican government agencies to gradually substitute — i.e., ban — the use of biotechnology corn in all products for human consumption and for animal feed. The consultations also regard rejections of applications for authorization covering the importation and sale of certain biotechnology products. Mexico’s measures appear to be inconsistent with several of its obligations in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Market Access chapters of the USMCA.”