Published: October 2, 2023

Category: Mexico’s GMO Ban

Canada joins U.S. in pressuring Mexico over GMO corn ban

Mexico says it won’t make any further changes to a decree on genetically modified corn, according to Mexico’s economy minister, Raquel Buenrostro.

This comes in advance of a dispute panel requested by the United States through the U.S. Mexico, Canada trade agreement (USMCA).

Last February, Mexico modified its decree banning imports of GMO corn by 2024 to continue allowing imports of GMO corn for animal feed. The new decree maintained a ban on GMO corn for food, specifically for making flour for tortillas, a staple food in Mexico.

“That is why care was taken to give the definition of corn for human food,” Buenrostro said.

Tortillas in Mexico are made with non-GMO white corn, in which it is self-sufficient, but the country imports corn worth around $5 billion annually from the United States, most of it is yellow GMO grain for livestock feed.

But that easing of Mexico’s GMO ban to allow for imports of GMO corn for feed wasn’t good enough for the U.S., which is pursuing its case with the USMCA.

The U.S. says Mexico’s ban on GMO corn for tortillas is not based on science and violates the USMCA.

But Buenrostro said Mexico’s policy is based on science and what the U.S. says has “no foundation.”

Mexico has invited the U.S. to work together on research to study the health impacts of GMO corn but the U.S. has refused.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already approved GMO corn, and Washington doesn’t see any need for more extensive research that might take years, Buenrostro said.

“(That) makes no sense because if a government cares about people’s health, then they would have no problem doing further research on the health implications,” she said.

Meanwhile, Canada has joined the U.S. in its opposition to Mexico’s ban on GMO corn for food use. The country will participate as a third party in the dispute settlement proceedings between the U.S. and Mexico.

Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said in a statement that the country “shares the concerns” of the U.S. over Mexico’s GMO ban.

Sources: Reuters
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Organic & Non-GMO Insights October 2023