Nebraska lawmaker raises questions over U.S. response to Mexico’s genetically modified corn ban

Nebraska lawmaker raises questions over U.S. response to Mexico’s genetically modified corn ban
April 18th, 2024 | RRN Staff

The still-unresolved dispute with Mexico over its limits on genetically modified corn made for a tense exchange between a Nebraska GOP lawmaker and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai at a recent Ways and Means hearing.

Congressman Adrian Smith didn’t hold back with President Biden’s trade chief after she confirmed Biden was briefed on the USMCA dispute case against Mexico’s phase-out of U.S. yellow feed corn and ban on GM white corn for human use.

“My research shows that the president has had exactly nothing to say. That’s disappointing. It would lead most reasonable people to believe that it’s not a priority, it doesn’t matter,” Smith said.

In 2020, Mexico published a decree calling for a phase-out of GM corn for human consumption in Mexico by January of 2024, arguing it threatens the country’s native corn varieties and could pose a threat to human health. Smith accused the White House of giving Mexico a “pass” on corn.

“The filing for the dispute resolution was roughly two years after the decree, the flagrant violation of USMCA was made, and I’m concerned that our president has had exactly nothing to say. Is there a downside to our president speaking up and saying that what Mexico is doing to our corn is wrong?” Smith added.

Tai responded, saying the administration is actively pursuing litigation.

“Mr. Smith, I am the U.S. Trade Representative in President Biden’s cabinet, and I’m here to talk about the president’s trade policy agenda, today. And I’m telling you that we are actively pursuing litigation with Mexico using the tools of the USMCA precisely to address what we consider to be an illegitimate and unscientifically based restriction on our trade in biotech corn to Mexico,” Tai said.

But Smith told Tai her response meant Biden chose to stay silent, and he didn’t accept that as “being concerned” about Mexico’s restrictions on U.S. genetically modified corn.

The trade dispute is expected to be resolved by the end of this year, according to U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator Doug McKalip.


© 2024 Nebraska Rural Radio Association. All rights reserved. Republishing, rebroadcasting, rewriting, redistributing prohibited. Copyright Information