Today, the U.S. Trade Representative announced it is filing a dispute settlement under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in response to Mexico’s steps to ban biotech corn for human consumption. Texas Corn Producers Association, as well as corn organizations across the country who called on the Biden administration to act, praised this news.
“This is an issue of grave concern for Texas corn farmers – particularly those of us in South Texas who sell our corn directly to Mexico,” Jim Sugarek, the TCPA president and a farmer in Bee County, said. “The state’s corn association has been at the helm of sounding the alarm for the impact of this decree on the corn market and our farmers. We truly appreciate Ambassador Katherine Tai and USTR for acting on this matter, as well as the efforts of members of Congress and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack who stood up for America’s farmers when they needed it.”
A group of objective experts will now be empaneled to hear the USMCA dispute settlement case and make final determinations based on the commitment both parties signed as part of the free trade agreement.
This dispute is in response to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s 2020 decree that aimed to ban imports of biotech corn beginning in January 2024. In February 2023, the country revised the decree to ban biotech corn for human consumption effective immediately, and left the door open for a later ban on biotech corn for feed.
Mexico is the largest export market for our country’s corn. With biotech corn accounting for approximately 90% of U.S.-grown corn, this decree holds the potential for severe consequences for the U.S. corn market.
“We’re glad to see the U.S. take steps to hold Mexico accountable for turning its back on a trade agreement they recently entered into, with no scientific evidence to support this decision,” Sugarek said. “Exports to Mexico play an important role in the corn market in Texas, and as a prime export market for the country as a whole Mexico’s decree is a grave threat to our industry and trade partnership.”
TCPA will continue to monitor this issue and advocate on behalf of the state’s corn farmers who are closely tied to this premier market for their crop.