Ag Policy Blog

Lawmakers Call on USTR to Bring USMCA Case Against Mexico Over Corn

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai testifying last year before Congress. A group of 62 Republican lawmakers wrote Tai on Thursday calling for the Biden administration to challenge Mexico's decree against biotech corn imports for human consumption. Tai last said two months ago that the U.S. and Mexico were in technical talks over the decree. (DTN file photo)

A group of 62 Republican House members on Thursday wrote U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai pressing her office and the Biden administration to move ahead with a formal USMCA dispute panel against Mexico over its biotech corn policies.

The letter to Tai noted she had told Congress two months ago that if the Biden administration's concerns over Mexico' policies were not resolved through technical consultations then the USTR would "consider all options to fix this problem, including by taking additional steps under the USMCA." Lawmakers cited that absent any meaningful action from Mexico, "the time to take those additional steps is now."

According to USDA's latest export figures, Mexico remains the top market for all U.S. corn exports in the current marketing year with nearly 10.8 million metric tons in sales -- more than one-third of all corn exports -- and another 3.35 million in outstanding sales pending.

Mexico's decree banning biotech corn focuses on corn for human consumption -- predominately white corn -- following changes to the decree earlier this year. There also is still a possible ban on corn for livestock feed, but that risk has lessened.

The U.S. and Mexico had a timeframe for technical consultations that was supposed to hit a deadline on April 7.

Tai and other administration officials have said little about the next steps with Mexico since she testified before Congress in March. Biden administration officials, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, have repeatedly said Mexico's ban goes against policy to set trade standards based on science.

In their letter lawmakers called on Tai to push the dispute settlement options under USMCA.

"Given Mexico's lack of meaningful action to correct this issue, it is time to fully utilize the tools you have under USMCA to hold Mexico accountable to its commitments. We urge you to immediately proceed with a formal USMCA dispute to stand up for the livelihoods of American farmers."

The full letter from lawmakers to Tai:…

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