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BIO Reiterates Lack of Basis for Mexico’s Ban on Genetically Modified Corn

March 15, 2024
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Seed technology companies comply with Mexico’s biosafety regulations, and Mexico should do the same, BIO said today in its response to the panel set up to determine if Mexico’s ban on imports of genetically modified corn violate its commitments under the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Mexico’s regulatory system has functioned in a predictable and science-based manner until the current president of Mexico took office, BIO wrote. The current president’s decree banning genetically modified (GM) products for certain food uses, and eventually phasing out imports of GM corn entirely, is inconsistent with Mexico’s regulations.

“It is our conclusion that the presidential decree was not motivated based on scientific evidence, old or new,” BIO wrote in its comments to the panel.

Since 2005, Mexico has followed well-established food and feed safety regulations, according to BIO. Seed technology companies develop scientific data and prepare regulatory submissions to ensure compliance with Mexico’s regulations—information that is rigorously analyzed by Mexican authorities—and continually monitor for new safety information. Mexico has not changed these regulations or processes, conducted new risk assessments or produced new scientific evidence to justify a change to the country’s GM regulations.

To enable free movement of corn in North America, BIO members prepare regulatory submissions in accordance with standards set forth by the Mexican authorities. BIO members do not sell GE corn seed in Mexico.

The primary issue at hand is that there is no scientific justification for the Mexican government to prohibit the use of GM corn in tortillas or in any other food or feed product, BIO added.

In addition to the economic harm that Mexico’s proposed ban will have on U.S. corn producers, the ban will have a devastating impact on the agricultural innovation needed to achieve our climate goals and ensure we can meet the world’s growing demand for food, BIO says.

“Science-based, predictable regulation of trade in food and feed products is critical to ensuring the flow of trade that meets the world’s food needs,” said Nancy Travis, BIO’s vice president for international affairs.

“Through biotech innovation, we are strengthening food security and meeting the climate challenge,” added Travis. “That critical and much-needed innovation is threatened if countries don’t even follow their own science-based regulations. U.S. food, feed and seed producers are following the rules. Mexico must do the same.”

Mexico’s president issued a decree in February 2023 to phase out imports of GM corn. The United States filed a complaint under the USMCA in March 2023, arguing that the ban violates Mexico’s commitments under the trade deal. As the voice of the biotech industry, BIO was one of only a few U.S. non-governmental organizations invited to present comments to the USMCA dispute panel.

BIO thanks U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and USTR Chief Agriculture Negotiator Doug McKalip for pursuing this action in support of U.S. farmers and agricultural innovation.

 

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About BIO

BIO is the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. Good Day BIO is the only daily newsletter at the intersection of biotech, politics and policy. Subscribe here.

 

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