Finally, some progress on Mexico’s GM corn ban. Yesterday, Mexican President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador softened his stance on the ban of genetically-modified corn from the U.S. after pressure from the Biden administration.
But, the United States says that it isn’t enough. “The U.S. believes in and adheres to a science-based, rules-based trading system and remains committed to preventing disruptions to bilateral agricultural trade and economic harm to U.S. and Mexican producers,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.
According to Reuters, the Mexican president issued a government decree on Monday eliminating the January 2024 deadline to forbid GM corn for both animal feed and industrial use.
However, the ban on grains for human consumption will remain in place. This will include GM corn for human consumption, including flour, dough, or tortillas made from modified corn. The ban does not include corn used for products such as cosmetics, textiles, and paper.
»Related: Study: Mexican ban on GM corn could be devastating
What the decree does maintain, is a revoke on authorizations and permits to import, produce, distribute and use the herbicide glyphosate. A transition period will be in effect until March 31, 2024.
In Addition, COFEPRIS (Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios) will conduct studies to investigate impacts GM corn may have on human health.
Mexico is the U.S.’s second-largest export market for corn. Mexico currently buys about 17 million tonnes of GM yellow corn for animal feed from the United States. Meanwhile, about 18 to 20 percent of the corn Mexico imports from the U.S. is white corn. The issue mobilized President Joe Biden’s administration and policymakers in corn-producing states based on concerns for disrupting the U.S. Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Bloomberg reported Mexico’s economy ministry saying that the new decree “does not represent any impact on trade or imports, among other reasons because Mexico is greatly self-sufficient in the production of white corn free from transgenics.”
“Singling out corn — our number one ag export to Mexico — and hastening an import ban on numerous food-grade uses makes USMCA a dead letter unless it’s enforced,” said National Gorn Growers’ Association President Tom Haag.