Although still with a confused perspective, the president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hinted that restrictions on corn imports planned for 2024 could exclude yellow corn.
“Today some progress was made. For example, President López Obrador reaffirmed the importance of yellow corn imports for Mexico’s food security,” said the United States Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsackin a statement issued on Monday, after their meeting in Mexico City.
On December 31, 2020, Mexico published a decree in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) calling for the progressive elimination of the use of glyphosate and transgenic corn for human consumption in Mexico.
The decree establishes that the transgenic corn and the glyphosate they will be phased out in the next three years and replaced by “sustainable and culturally appropriate” alternatives.
It is not yet clear if the import restriction covers only corn for human consumption, without including corn for livestock or industrial use.
From January to September 2022, Mexico imported 11,247,000 tons of yellow corn (except for planting) from the United States, representing a year-on-year increase of 1.5%, according to data from the Department of Commerce.
In 2021, Mexico registered a record in those same imports, when buying US corn for 15 million 518,000 tons.
López Obrador said Tuesday that the governments of both countries are trying to reach an agreement on this difference.
We hope to reach an agreement; but if an agreement is not reached, there are panels and, not to be alarmed, they go to a court and they decide. But we cannot give in to that request,” López Obrador added.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the decree has the potential to substantially disrupt trade, harm farmers on both sides of the border, and significantly increase costs for Mexican consumers.
“We must find a way to move forward soon and emphasize in no uncertain terms that – in the absence of an acceptable resolution of the matter – the United States Government would be compelled to consider all options, including taking formal steps to enforce our legal rights. under the T-MEC”, Vilsack expressed the day before.
The Sixth Article of the Decree adds: “Likewise, the biosafety authorities, within the scope of their competence, in accordance with the applicable regulations and based on criteria of sufficiency in the supply of corn grain without glyphosate, will revoke and They will refrain from granting authorizations for the use of genetically modified corn grain in the diet of Mexican women and men, until it is fully replaced on a date that may not be later than January 31, 2024, in accordance with the food self-sufficiency policies of the country and with the transition period established in the first article of this Decree”.
“We made it very clear that a ban on imports from Mexico would both cause massive economic losses for Mexico’s agricultural industries and citizens, as well as place an unwarranted burden on American farmers,” Vilsack said.
The decree would also have a significant impact on the US-Mexico trade relationship, which reached a record value of more than $63 billion in two-way trade in agricultural products in 2021 and is expected to be even higher in 2022.
“Phasing out biotech products, as outlined in the decree, could also stifle the important innovations we need to help our farmers adapt to a changing climate,” Vilsack said.
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