Mexico aims for agreement with US on GM corn in January

Mexican president threatened to ban GM corn, glyphosate in 2024
calendar icon 19 December 2022
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Mexico and the United States aim to reach an agreement in January over a pending Mexican ban on imports of genetically modified (GM) corn, the Mexican foreign ministry said on Friday after officials from the two countries held talks in Washington, reported Reuters.

In a statement, the ministry said talks would continue in the meantime as the two sides worked to reach a "mutual understanding" that gives "legal certainty to all parties."

Mexico has a controversial presidential decree that is set to ban GM corn and the herbicide glyphosate in 2024.

US officials have threatened to take action under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), arguing that the decree will harm US farmers.

"The Mexican delegation presented some potential amendments to the decree in an effort to address our concerns," US Department ofAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a joint statement released on Friday afternoon.

"We agreed to review their proposal closely and follow up with questions or concerns in short order," they said.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told reporters the two sides were aiming to reach an agreement by the end of January.

Mexico, which imports about 17 million tonnes of US corn a year, has said the decree focuses on corn for human consumption and that GM yellow corn for animal feed would be permitted.

Mexican officials, however, have yet to announce formal modifications to the decree.

Mexico's health regulator COFEPRIS has not authorized new strains of glyphosate-resistant GM corn seeds for import since 2018.

Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), an industry group representing biotech companies including Bayer, said Friday it would urge the US government to begin taking enforcement action over Mexico’s treatment of agricultural biotechnology should the country fall short of meeting "the commitments under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement".

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