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USTR outlines panel on GM corn against Mexico in USMCA

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) took a first step to outline a panel on GM corn against Mexico in the framework of the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (USMCA).

Mexico does not grow GM corn and the Mexican government issued a decree on December 31, 2021 where it establishes that genetically modified corn for human consumption will be eliminated by January 31, 2024, although it has proposed to grant an additional year, without making it official.

In this regard, the USTR informed on Monday that it requested technical consultations with the Mexican government on certain Mexican measures related to agricultural biotechnology products.

In Mexico, the Inter-Ministerial Commission on Biosafety and Genetically Modified Organisms (CIBIOGEM) is responsible for establishing policies on biosafety and the safe use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

These activities are regulated by the GMO Biosafety Law and its implementing regulations.

The importation of GMOs for experimental release into the environment, for pilot programs or for commercial use, requires a permit issued by the Secretariat of Agriculture (SADER) and SEMARNAT, following the completion of a risk analysis (Article 66 of the GMO Biosafety Law).

Likewise, subsequent imports do not require new permits, as long as they are the same GMO and from the same area of release into the environment (Article 58 of the GMO Biosafety Law).

GM corn

Regarding the Decree published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on December 31, 2020, the work of the agencies responsible for its implementation has not been completed and is still in progress.

The Government of Mexico has reiterated its commitment in the implementation of the Decree to ensure that the execution of this instrument will be carried out in terms of its provisions, and taking into consideration our international obligations and commitments.

USTR head Katherine Tai said Monday that Mexico’s policies «threaten to disrupt billions of dollars» in agricultural trade and will stifle innovation needed to address the climate crisis and food security challenges if not addressed.

 

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