USMCA panel on transgenic corn between Mexico and the United States

Mexico and the United States initiated a dispute settlement panel on imports of transgenic corn under the Agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada (USMCA).

Pursuant to Articles 31.2 and 31.4 of the USMCA, the United States requested consultations with Mexico with respect to certain Mexican measures relating to GM corn and other GM products.

According to the White House Trade Representative (USTR), these measures appear to be inconsistent with several provisions of the USMCA, including Chapter 9 (Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures) and Chapter 2 (National Treatment and Market Access for Goods).

On March 30, 2023, the United States held technical consultations with Mexico under Chapter 9 of the USMCA, but the technical consultations failed to resolve the issue.

Thus, Article 9.19 of the USMCA provides that a Party may cease technical consultations and resort to dispute settlement under Chapter 31 after the technical consultations meeting.

Transgenic Corn

Since August 2021, Mexico has rejected certain applications for authorization covering genetically modified corn, canola, cotton and soybean events.

In the context of the Mexican regime governing GM products, this means that it is illegal to import and sell products in Mexico that include the rejected events.

The resulting event rejections and product bans are reflected in official letters (mentioned below) from the Federal Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) and in Mexico’s legal regime governing the importation and sale of GM products other than for cultivation.

Each of these event authorization rejections and the resulting product bans appear to be inconsistent with certain provisions of the USMCA, according to USTR.

This Monday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his government will restrict foreign purchases of genetically modified corn for human consumption as a «public health issue.»

Lopez Obrador said this week he will sign an agreement that only non-GMO white corn will be used in Mexican tortilla factories and that Mexican customs will set tariffs on imports of GM white corn.


Redacción Opportimes