Vilsack: GMO Corn Imports Just One of the Topics to Discuss With Mexico

The U.S. has asked Mexico to start the process of more formally resolving a long-running dispute over Mexico’s planned import ban of GMO corn.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office asked Mexico for technical talks under the USMCA trade deal that could lead to more formal dispute settlement talks.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the dispute over GMO corn imports is just one of the topics the trading partners need to work out.

“There have been a variety of decrees that have come from Mexico. I think the underlying issue here is the need for our relationship with Mexico, and to be a trade relationship, to be science-based, whether it’s corn or whether it’s soybeans or whether it’s cotton or whatever it is. If you are creating a concern about the safety or the effectiveness of a particular technology based on culture, that’s an issue that undermines the whole trading process.”

Following months of high-level talks, Mexico’s most recent decree called for a ban on white corn, which could interrupt some 1.6 million tons of it here in the US. Mexico has sidelined, for now, its planned ban on GMO yellow corn which it will feed to livestock.

Vilsack says Mexico has changed its governmental decrees on GMO imports in recent months.

“They changed the decree a bit. And I know that at one point in time, it involves soybeans and cotton. And I don’t think that the revised decree speaks to cotton and soybeans, but in the interest of caution, I suppose we want to make sure that there’s a clear understanding of what their position is. That’s why you have the consultation.”

Vilsack says the process is all about working out the differences between the two sides.

“I think the point of this is that we’ve started a consultation. The point of it is that we want to make sure that there is an exchange of information in the hopes that we ultimately get to a better place than we are today. And if not, we’ll just continue the process, which is why the USMCA was an improvement over NAFTA, because it creates this process.”

Vilsack remains hopeful that America’s concerns can be fully addressed. If not, he says they’ll continue to pursue all necessary steps to enforce our rights under the USMCA to make sure America’s producers and exporters have full and fair access to the Mexican market.

Source: NAFB News Service