US takes further step in dispute with Mexico over anti-GMO policy

The United States said Friday that it has requested dispute settlement consultations with Mexico over the country’s agricultural policies, escalating a conflict that threatens their corn trade.

The consultations, under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), come after Mexico announced plans to phase out the use of genetically engineered corn in animal feed and products for human consumption among other measures, drawing ire from Washington.

“The United States has repeatedly conveyed its concerns that Mexico’s biotechnology policies are not based on science and threaten to disrupt US exports to Mexico to the detriment of agricultural producers,” said US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai in a statement.

“We will continue to work with the Mexican government through these consultations to resolve our concerns,” she added.

The move on Friday follows an earlier request for technical consultations in March.

This process took place but failed to resolve the matter, a senior USTR official told reporters.

Looking ahead, the USMCA provides that a consulting party may ask for a dispute settlement panel to be set up if parties fail to resolve the matter within 75 days of the consultation request, officials added.

“We fundamentally disagree with the position Mexico has taken on the issue of biotechnology, which has been proven to be safe for decades,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The United States exported $28 billion in agricultural goods to Mexico in 2022, while Mexico exported $43 billion of such goods to the United States. — Agence France-Presse

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