The US asks Mexico for consultations under USMCA for biotech corn

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United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced that the United States has requested dispute resolution consultations with Mexico under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). These queries refer to certain Mexican measures relating to products of agricultural biotechnology.

“The United States has repeatedly expressed concern that Mexico's biotech policies are not based on science and threaten to disruptr US exports to Mexico to the detriment of agricultural producers, which in turn can exacerbate food security challenges,” Tai said.

Similarly, the United States Trade Representative added that Mexico's biotech policies also stifle agricultural innovation that helps American farmers respond to pressing climate challenges as well as increase farm productivity and improve farmer livelihoods.

“We will continue to work with the Mexican government through these consultations to resolve our concerns and help ensure that consumers can continue to access safe food and produce and affordable,” said the US ambassador.

On the other hand, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stressed that the United States Department of Agriculture supports the success of all farmers and that seeks to "adopt fair, open, scientific and rules-based trade."

“In this spirit, the USMCA was drafted to ensure that producers in the three countries have full and fair access to each other's markets. We fundamentally disagree with the position that Mexico has taken on the subject of biotechnology, which has proven to be safe for decades,” the official added.

He assured that this action allows the United States to exercise its rights under the USMCA treaty while supporting innovation, nutritional security, sustainability and the mutual success of farmers as well as producers.

These consultations refer to the measures established in the decree of February 13, 2023 of Mexico, specifically a ban on the use of biotech corn in tortillas or masa, and the instruction to Mexican government agencies to phase out, that is, ban, the use of biotech corn in all products. for human consumption and animal feed.

The inquiries also refer to rejections of authorization applications covering the importation and sale of certain biotechnological products.

Mexico's measures appear to be inconsistent with several of its obligations in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures chapters. and Access to T-MEC Markets.

Today's announcement follows the commitment of the United States to the Government of Mexico in its biotechnology policies, including talks by Ambassador Katherine Tai with the Secretary of Economy of Mexico, Raquel Buenrostro.

The United States used the tools provided by the USMCA to try to resolve concerns with Mexico's biotechnology policies, including the meetings of the Free Trade Commission, the SPS Committee and the USMCA Biotechnology Working Group.

On January 30, 2023, the United States sent a formal written request to Mexico under the SPS Chapter of the USMCA (article 9.6.14) toto obtain “an explanation of the reasons” and “pertinent information regarding” certain Mexican measures relating to biotech products and Mexico provided a written response on February 14.

In March 2023, The United States requested and held technical consultations with Mexico regarding its biotechnological measures under the SPS chapter of the USMCA, but the consultations did not resolve the matter.

Finally, the neighboring country made it clear that he would consider all optionsincluding additional measures to enforce their rights under USMCA, if Mexico does not return to science-based and risk-based biotechnology policies that meet USMCA commitments.

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