The United States escalates lawsuit with Mexico over genetically modified corn

The partners are nearing a full-fledged trade dispute under the Canada-US-Mexico Trade Agreement (TMEC) over Mexico’s policies to limit the use of genetically modified corn, which it imports from its northern neighbor.

The United States requested formal trade consultations in March because of its objection to Mexico’s plans to limit imports of genetically modified corn and other agricultural biotech products.

Officials at the Office of the Trade Representative (USTR) said such consultations were conducted but failed to resolve the issue.

The escalation in the corn row comes amid other disagreements between the two countries, especially over energy in which the United States has argued that Mexican nationalist politics is hurting foreign companies.

Despite changes to the Mexican ordinance, which was amended in February, the US has said the Latin American country’s policies are not based on science and appear inconsistent with its obligation under the USMCA.

“They’ve made some changes, like removing the timeline set for banning biotechnology products, but it calls for a phased replacement and eventual ban on genetically modified corn, and that part of the action itself has no scientific basis,” said an official with the US Trade Representative’s office.

The officials added that the United States may request the formation of a special committee to settle disputes if the parties fail to resolve the issue within 75 days of the request for consultation.

The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, confirmed that genetically modified seeds could contaminate Mexico’s ancient indigenous varieties and questioned their impact on human health.

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Mexico’s agriculture minister expressed confidence in an interview published this week that the dispute with the United States would not go any further, nor escalate to a dispute settlement body.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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