Vilsack Addresses USTR/Mexico Request
Earlier this month, U.S. Trade Representative’s Office requested technical consultations with Mexico regarding its proposed ban on GMO corn imports from the U.S. The request is under the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Chapter of USMCA. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the dispute over GMO corn imports is just one of the topics the trading partners need to work out.
“There have been a variety of decrees that have come from Mexico. I think the underlying issue here is the need for our relationship with Mexico, and to be a trade relationship, to be science-based, whether it's corn or whether it's soybeans or whether it's cotton or whatever it is. If you are creating a concern about the safety or the effectiveness of a particular technology based on culture, that's an issue that undermines the whole trading process.”
Vilsack said the process is all about working out the differences between the two nations.
“I think the point of this is that we've started a consultation. The point of it is that we want to make sure that there is an exchange of information in the hopes that we ultimately get to a better place than we are today. And if not, we'll just continue the process, which is why the USMCA was an improvement over NAFTA, because it creates this process.”
Vilsack added Mexico has changed its governmental decrees on GMO imports in recent months, noting an earlier decree even included GMO soybeans and cotton.
“They changed the decree a bit. And I know that at one point in time, it involves soybeans and cotton. And I don't think that the revised decree speaks to cotton and soybeans, but in the interest of caution, I suppose we want to make sure that there's a clear understanding of what their position is. That's why you have the consultation.”
He also says the U.S. remains hopeful that America’s concerns can be fully addressed. If not, the Ag Secretary said the U.S. will continue to pursue all necessary steps to enforce our rights under the USMCA to make sure America’s producers and exporters have full and fair access to the Mexican market.
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