Smith, Fischbach Lead Call for Formal Dispute Consultations under USMCA

Smith, Fischbach Lead Call for Formal Dispute Consultations under USMCA
June 1st, 2023 | Congressman Adrian Smith

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), chairman of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, and Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-MN) led 62 of their colleagues in a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai.

In the letter, the members call on Ambassador Tai to fully utilize the tools USTR has under USMCA to hold Mexico accountable to its commitments by proceeding with a formal USMCA dispute to address Mexico’s discriminatory policies banning U.S. biotech corn.

The letter, which you can view here, states:

Dear Ambassador Tai:

We appreciate your continued work to hold our trading partners to the commitments in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In particular, we commend the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for taking the first step to address Mexico’s discriminatory policy banning U.S. biotech corn by requesting technical consultations under USMCA. However, now that the thirty-day period for consultations have lapsed without Mexico making any changes, we urge USTR to take swift enforcement action by initiating a USMCA dispute.

We agree with the assessment you made during your testimony to Congress that “Mexico’s policies threaten to cause serious economic harm to U.S. farmers and stifle innovation that can promote global food security.” At the time, you were seeking technical consultations with Mexico on their policy of restricting U.S. biotech imports into their country. You further explained that “if [your] concerns are not resolved through technical consultations, [you] will consider all options to fix this problem, including by taking additional steps under the USMCA.” Two months have passed since these statements, and we strongly believe that – absent immediate meaningful action by Mexico to shift its policy – the time to take those additional steps is now.

Absent such action, U.S. agriculture’s $30 billion export market is at risk. Mexico represents a critical market for U.S. corn, our country’s top crop by production value. Loss of market access would result in substantial losses for producers and rural economies across the country. In addition, allowing Mexico to continue with this policy would cede the importance of agricultural innovation and technological advancement. Perhaps most importantly, lack of action would create a dangerous precedent that promises made under USMCA, and other trade agreements by extension, can be ignored without consequence. Mexico’s failure to adhere to its agricultural commitments under USMCA must be addressed with the same vigor that USTR has approached other aspects of the agreement, including labor. USMCA must be enforced in its entirety.

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 letter was signed by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith and Reps. Alford, Allen, Armstrong, Arrington, Bacon, Baird, Banks, Bost, Buck, Bucshon, Carey, Cline, Comer, Crawford, Davidson, De La Cruz, Ellzey, Emmer, Estes, Ezell, Feenstra, Finstad, Fitzpatrick, Flood, Fry, Sam Graves, Grothman, Guest, Guthrie, Hern, Hinson, Houchin, Jackson, Dusty Johnson, Mike Kelly, Trent Kelly, Kustoff, LaHood, Letlow, Luetkemeyer, Mann, McCaul, Mary Miller, Max Miller, Miller-Meeks, Murphy, Newhouse, Nunn, Pence, Rose, Austin Scott, Smucker, Stauber, Strong, G.T. Thompson, Timmons, Van Duyne, Wagner, Waltz, Wenstrup, and Yakym.


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