by Sabrina Halvorson
It’s another chapter in the Mexico-GMO Corn saga. Mexico has taken another step in preventing GMO corn from other nations from entering that country. It’s put in place a 50 percent tariff on US white corn imports through December. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said it’s one of the issues the US is pursuing through a US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) dispute settlement consultation with Mexico.
“The process was started by the Trade Representative’s office to request a consultation. Consultations have taken place and we’re just going through the process to try to [correct] what we believe is inappropriate action on the part of the Mexican government, which restricts, and in fact eliminates, the ability to import white corn into the country of Mexico,” Vilsack said. “While we think it’s inconsistent with the trade agreement, it’s inconsistent with the science-based and rules-based trading system. That’s the reason why we are pursuing our remedies under the USMCA.”
While speaking with reporters by phone on Monday, Secretary Vilsack said most U.S. corn growers will not be affected by the tariff.
“The good news is that the vast, vast, vast majority of corn that’s sold to Mexico from the U.S. is yellow corn. Somewhere between 96 to 97 percent of all exports from the U.S. to Mexico are yellow corn. Obviously, the tariff doesn’t impact or affect those sales at all,” he said. While white corn is a staple in the Mexican diet, the nation is self-sufficient in the grain and relies on few imports. However, Secretary Vilsack says the tariff effectively eliminates U.S. exports of white corn to Mexico and is not in line with the USMCA trade agreement. He says one of the benefits of the USMCA is that it provides a mechanism for resolving disputes such as this.
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.