Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni K. Ernst called for the initiation of a process that could lead to a dispute settlement panel under the USMCA on GM corn.
According to both lawmakers, the time has come for the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to intervene in this matter.
“We respectfully request that you formally request consultations on dispute settlement under Article 31.4 of the USMCA. If at the end of the consultation period, Mexico has not confirmed that it will revoke its ban, USTR should proceed with a request for the establishment of a dispute settlement panel,” they said.
This request was expressed in a letter to Katherine Tai, head of the USTR, on Monday.
According to a decree, GM corn for human consumption will be eliminated in Mexico no later than January 31, 2024.
“We are writing to express our concern about President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s promise to ban imports of biotech corn into Mexico by 2024. This promise directly contradicts those previously made by the Mexican government to the United States, contained in the USMCA,” the senators said.
Iowa is the leading corn-producing state, growing 2.5 billion bushels per year.
Iowa producers export 16 million tons, or 630 million bushels, of corn to Mexico each year.
A study by World Perspectives, Inc. found that over a “10-year forecast period, the Mexican ban on GM corn would cause the U.S. economy to lose $73.89 billion in economic output, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would contract by $30.55 billion.”
In the first year of Mexico’s ban, U.S. corn growers and industry partners would suffer losses of $3.56 billion, followed by a loss of $5.56 billion in the second year. This economic downturn would also result in the loss of 32,000 U.S. jobs.
Mexico’s actions would also negatively impact U.S. farmers’ access to current and future innovation that promotes increased agricultural productivity and sustainability.
Given the impact that the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to have on the global grain supply, the Senators expressed that it is critical to remove arbitrary barriers to seed technology that supports resilience throughout the agricultural value chain,