Canada Joins US Complaint of Mexico’s GMO Corn Restrictions

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The Canadian government announced Friday, June 9, that it will be joining the United States in filing a formal complaint against Mexico for restricting the import of genetically modified (GMO) corn in violation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (UISMCA).

The restriction, implemented by leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), prevents the import of all GMO yellow corn for human consumption, a measure that will direly affect both U.S. farmers.

Currently, the United States exports more than 20 million metric tons of corn to Mexico — 95 percent of which is yellow corn — and about 90 percent of all corn grown within the United States is genetically modified.

In March, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office requested formal trade consultations under the USMCA on its initiative to regulate GMO corn.

Both Canada and the United States has said that the Mexican measure will affect farmers unfairly.

López Obrador has insisted that GMO corn is potentially dangerous to human health, although the United States has repeatedly pointed out that Mexico’s claims against GMO corn are without scientific evidence.

“Canada shares the concerns of the United States that Mexico’s measures are not scientifically supported and have the potential to unnecessarily disrupt trade in the North American market,” Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng and Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a joint statement Friday.

Consequently, they said, Canada will participate in the dispute settlement consultations as a third party to ensure “trade predictability and market access for our farmers and exporters.”

Mexico is the second-largest consumer of U.S. corn, although the bulk of its imports from the United States are of white corn used for animal feed.

Notwithstanding, if dispute settlement talks do not bring a mutually acceptable resolution of the conflict, the United States could request a dispute resolution panel and, ultimately, impose trade countermeasures against Mexico.

While Canada is not a major corn exporter, Ottawa has balked at Mexico’s new GMO corn regulations, claiming that they are “arbitrary” and contrary to scientific agricultural advancements.

Moreover, Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of canola, a genetically-modified food crop used in cooking oil, and Mexico is one of its main markets for the Canadian canola oil.

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