Mexico officials issued a new decree on Monday calling for a revision to the ban on imports of biotech corn used for certain purposes, effective immediately. The decree also indicated the Mexican government would continue to allow imports of biotech corn used as animal feed while exploring substitutes.
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) says it has serious concerns with the accelerated implementation timeline.
“The Biden administration has been more than patient with Mexico as U.S. officials have sought to enforce a rules-based trading system and stand up for American farmers,” said National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag. “The integrity of USMCA, signed by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador himself, is at stake. Singling out corn – our number one ag export to Mexico – and hastening an import ban on numerous food-grade uses makes USMCA a dead letter unless it’s enforced.”
President López Obrador initiated a decree in late 2020 that would ban imports of biotech corn effective January 31, 2024. The Biden administration and Congress have worked closely with Mexican officials over the last several months to head off the ban, which would be catastrophic for American corn growers as well as the Mexican people, who depend on corn as a major staple of their food supply.
Those talks culminated in a letter from a Biden administration official late last week calling for Mexico to provide further explanation and justification for the original decree. While the Mexican government had appeared to be seeking a more pragmatic position to promote food security in recent weeks, the latest decree sends a message that Mexico is doubling down on its original position.