Mexico violates the T-MEC in agricultural biotechnology: letter from 76 US legislators to Biden

A total of 76 legislators of the United States House of Representatives asserted that Mexico violates the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC) in the trade in biotechnology products.

Among the alleged violations argued, a decree issued by the Mexican government that somewhat restricts imports of transgenic corn from the United States stands out.

Therefore, lawmakers urged the president’s government Joe Biden to ensure full compliance with the T-MEC, through reversing the corresponding violative measures or through a dispute resolution panel.

“We ask (Biden) to seek guarantees from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador that he and the Government of Mexico will abide by the provisions on biotechnology established by the T-MEC,” they said in a November 19 letter addressed by Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE), of the Ways and Means Committee, and Jim Costa (D-CA), member of the Agriculture Committee.

If that fails, we ask you to use the enforcement tools made available to you under the T-MEC to hold Mexico accountable, ”they added.

On December 31, 2020, Mexico published a final decree under which existing authorizations “for the use of genetically modified corn grain in the diet of Mexican women and men” will be revoked and new authorizations will be prohibited until the corn grain genetically modified to be completely replaced on January 31, 2024.

Ya la White House Trade Representation (USTR, for its acronym in English) has indicated that it is pressuring Mexico to revoke the decree and ensure that the Cofepris Undertake and complete your approval procedure for agricultural biotech products without undue delay and maintaining a transparent process.

In the letter, the lawmakers argued that the United States is at the forefront of the development and deployment of innovative plant biotechnologies, which can reduce the need for water, increase tolerance to drought, sequester carbon and help reduce food waste.

With more than 90% of the acres of corn, soybeans, and cotton grown from biotech crops, the United States is the world’s largest producer of biotech crops, many of which are grown for export.

This includes sales to Mexico, the United States’ third-largest agricultural trading partner, which imported $ 18.3 billion in agricultural and related products from the United States in 2020.

“This decree, which is not based on science, is particularly worrying because it indicates the possible rejection of currently pending permit approvals and opens the door to the revocation of existing biotechnology authorizations,” the legislators abounded.

In addition, they argued that there is a “very real” possibility that this decree will have an impact on the purchase of animal feed, even if it is not directly prohibited.

“Recent actions by the Mexican government blatantly challenge T-MEC provisions on biotechnology and sanitary and phytosanitary measures and may greatly disrupt agricultural exports from the United States and the rural communities we represent,” said lawmakers.

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