The United States Could Request Dispute Panel
During the 2022 Global Agrobusiness Forum, a call was made for policies and investments to enhance agriculture.
Following the Mexican government's publication of a new decree on February 13, 2023, which bans the importation of genetically modified maize for human consumption but allows it for forage and industrial use, Mexico's agri-food sector has expressed concern that the United States may request a dispute panel under the USMCA, as this would violate the existing trade agreement between the two countries.
The Director General of the National Agricultural Council (CNA), Luis Fernando Haro, has stated that the United States has expressed its disagreement with this measure and that this could result in a disruption to the flow of goods between the two countries. If a panel is held, Mexico may be at risk of losing and facing tariffs on agricultural, agri-food, and other sector products. As a result, there is widespread concern in these sectors.
The Mexican government has claimed that the dispute lacks a commercial basis and is a political matter. Furthermore, Mexico is self-sufficient in white maize and wants to preserve the biodiversity of its native maize, which includes 64 varieties. However, the U.S. government has argued that Mexico has not provided scientific evidence that GM maize harms health, and that Mexico has not demonstrated that it will achieve food self-sufficiency in accordance with its production conditions.
Currently, 43 per cent of Mexico's cultivated land corresponds to various native maize varieties, which represent between 30 and 35 per cent of total national production. Improved/hybrid seeds are planted on 57 per cent of cultivated land with higher yields than their native counterpart, with a lower average yield. Hybrid seeds are mainly for the nixtamal and flour milling industry.
Mexico currently imports approximately 18 million tons of maize, making it the main import product from the United States. This situation has led to concerns about disrupting the flow of goods between the two countries if a dispute panel is held.
Rendón, H. (Abril 2023). Estados Unidos pediría panel de controversias. Gigante agroalimentario, 1(14), 8-9.