MEXICO CITY — The U.S. authorities has escalated its commerce dispute over proposed Mexican limits on genetically modified corn, asking Monday for formal consultations with Mexico on the difficulty.

The U.S. Commerce Consultant’s workplace introduced it has referred to as for consultations with Mexico over proposed guidelines that might ban GM corn for human consumption; Mexico says it may ultimately ban it for animal feed as properly.

The commerce consultant’s workplace mentioned the ban may “threaten to disrupt billions of {dollars} in agricultural commerce.”

Mexico is the main importer of U.S. corn, most of which is genetically modified. Nearly all is fed to cattle, pigs and chickens in Mexico, which does not develop sufficient feed corn to produce itself.

Mexico argues GM corn could have well being results, even when used as fodder, however hasn’t offered proof. If the difficulty isn’t solved in consultations, it may result in a dispute decision panel or commerce sanctions below the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free commerce settlement, generally known as the USMCA.

“The USA has repeatedly conveyed our severe issues with Mexico’s biotechnology insurance policies and the significance of adopting a science-based strategy that complies with its USMCA commitments,” U.S. Commerce Consultant Katherine Tai mentioned in a press release.

“Mexico’s insurance policies threaten to disrupt billions of {dollars} in agricultural commerce and they’re going to stifle the innovation that’s essential to sort out the local weather disaster and meals safety challenges if left unaddressed,” in response to the assertion.

Mexico’s Financial system Division burdened in a press release Monday that the difficulty just isn’t but a commerce dispute, although consultations are step one in that course of, and expressed confidence it could possibly be labored out.

Mexico had beforehand appeared desperate to keep away from a significant showdown with america on the corn concern — however not keen sufficient to utterly drop speak of any ban.

In February, Mexico’s Financial system Division issued new guidelines that dropped the date for substituting imports of GM feed corn. Some imported corn can also be floor into meal to be used in corn chips or different snacks.

Below a earlier model of the principles, some U.S. growers frightened a GM feed corn ban may occur as quickly as 2024 or 2025.

Whereas the date was dropped, the language remained within the guidelines about ultimately substituting GM corn, one thing that might trigger costs for meat to skyrocket in Mexico, the place inflation is already excessive.

U.S. farmers have frightened concerning the potential lack of the one greatest export marketplace for U.S. corn. Mexico has been importing GM feed corn from the U.S. for years, shopping for about $3 billion price yearly.

The brand new guidelines nonetheless say Mexican authorities will perform “the gradual substitution” of GM feed and milled corn, however units no date for doing so and says potential well being points would be the topic of research by Mexican specialists “with well being authorities from different nations.”

“Relating to using genetically modified corn for animal feed and industrial use, the date for prohibiting its use has been eradicated,” the Financial system Division mentioned within the assertion. “Working teams might be arrange with the home and worldwide personal sector to attain an orderly transition.”

Mexico was the place corn was first domesticated beginning round 9,000 years in the past, and with a purpose to defend its native varieties, the nation will nonetheless ban imports of GM seed corn.

Mexico may also prohibit using GM corn for direct human consumption, which in Mexico consists primarily of contemporary white corn and white corn tortilla flour. Mexico has no have to import white corn from america, the place most corn is yellow or candy corn.

The USA has additionally been angered by Mexico’s limits on international and personal electrical energy crops in Mexico, however the U.S. authorities has not but taken that concern to the USMCA dispute decision course of.

The USA says Mexico is unfairly favoring its state-owned electrical energy and oil firms over American rivals and clean-energy suppliers. Canada additionally has joined in that criticism. Mexico says it’s defending a majority share of its home vitality marketplace for the state-owned energy firm.

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