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U.S. Initiates USCMA Dispute Process over Proposed Ban on GM Corn

03/12/2023

Negotiations to resolve the unjustified ban on GMO corn proposed by the president of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in 2020 is inexorably progressing towards an USCMA dispute process. Negotiations by the USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) meeting with their counterparts in Mexico have failed to resolve the issue.

 

On Monday, the USTR initiated a formal consultation that requires a meeting within 30 days.  If consultations do not result in an amicable resolution, a Dispute Panel will be appointed with nominees suggested by both the U.S. and Mexico.  The elected panel will review scientific evidence, and gather oral and written testimony from both parties.  Following the decision of the Dispute Panel, the party violating obligations under the USMCA will be obligated to settle, failing which tariffs could be imposed on trade.

 

Legislators view the decision by Mexico to ban imported GM corn as a potentially serious barrier to exports, even if only confined to Mexico, our largest single customer.  Accepting a ban would be acknowledge that GM corn was in some way deleterious to conventional cultivars.

 

Over 90 percent of U.S. corn is derived from GM varieties and bans on GM commodities if they were to spread to other importing nations would impact the balance of trade and sharply reduce revenue obtained by farmers. Lower exports would reduce the input cost of feed for U.S.  livestock production. This makes the dispute with Mexico more than of academic or legal interest.