Last week, the United States escalated its objections to restrictions that Mexico’s biotech corn ban would place on exports, requesting a dispute settlement panel under the North American trade pact and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Mexico’s response was less than enthusiastic. According to Reuters, Mexico’s minister of economy, Raquel Buenrostro, told the publication that the country doesn’t plan to change its decree ahead of the dispute panel.
While the U.S. maintains that Mexico’s decrees are not scientifically based, Mexico has maintained its concerns over genetically modified corn, inviting the U.S. to work on researcher on the impacts of biotech corn on human health.
The dispute resolution panel will deal with issues brought up by Mexico’s decrees that the U.S. believes to be a violation of sanity standard provisions of the USMCA.
In February, Mexico updated measures to specifically ban the use of biotech corn in tortillas and dough, but set out instructions for a gradual ban on the use of biotech corn in all products for human consumption and animal feed.
“It’s already written … it’s already in the decree,” Buenrostro told Reuters, referring to allowing GM corn in animal feed, a key concern for U.S. and Mexican industrialists.
Back in March, the United States requested unsuccessful formal trade consultations.
Currently, Mexico buys about 17 million tonnes of GM yellow corn for animal feed from the United States — about $5 billion worth.
In June, U.S Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced that the U.S. had requested dispute settlement consultations with Mexico under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Under USMCA, once a dispute settlement is filed, a group of objective experts will be empaneled to hear the case and make final determinations based on the commitments both parties signed as part of the free trade agreement.
A resolution could come early next year, following technical consultations this year.