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US Ag Reps Working to Overturn Mexico’s Upcoming Import Ban on Genetically Modified Corn

Nearly two years ago, Mexico announced that by 2024, they would ban U.S. corn imports if it’s genetically modified or grown using glyphosate.

Dave Salmonsen, Senior Director of Government Affairs for the American Farm Bureau Federation, says the U.S. government and ag representatives are working to resolve this issue.

“It’s something that we’re very concerned about,” says Salmonsen.

On Dec. 31, 2020, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador issued the decree, which could cause billions of dollars of economic harm to both countries.

Salmonsen says that officials are unsure what that decree applies to specifically regarding corn imports.

“There’s a little confusion there because were they saying, ‘Is it all corn? Is it white corn to make their tortillas for food products? Is it all yellow corn?’ That’s never, at least to our satisfaction, been really explained. So, we’re concerned it could affect all corn,” says Salmonsen.

Dave Salmonsen, Senior Director of Government Affairs with American Farm Bureau Federation, at his office in Washington, D.C. Photo: C.J. Miller / Michigan Ag Today.

He adds that the issues between the U.S. and Mexico extend beyond corn imports and exports.

“Mexico also isn’t doing approvals of biotech products,” according to Salmonsen. “That’s restricting our ability for their companies to release those products for use here, because then you wouldn’t have any export market. These are concerns that our government and the Mexican government are trying to talk to about it. They’re trying to work that out.”

Salmonsen says that Mexico has been a huge ag trading partner going back to when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) started in 1994. That trade agreement was replaced with the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) in 2020.

“We don’t have tariffs going into Mexico, but we still have some standards issues, which can be thorny – and especially these decrees from this current Mexican government, so whether it’s under the USMCA or outside of it, this has to get resolved,” says Salmonsen.

According to the USDA, Mexico is expected to import 17.7 million metric tons of U.S. corn in 2022-23.

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