WORLD

US escalates trade dispute with Mexico over limits on genetically modified corn

Aug 17, 2023, 1:15 PM | Updated: 2:38 pm

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The U.S. government said Thursday it is formally requesting a dispute settlement panel in its ongoing row with Mexico over its limits on genetically modified corn.

Mexico’s Economy Department said it had received the notification and would defend its position. It claimed in a statement that “the measures under debate had no effect on trade,” and thus do not violate the United States-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement, known as the USMCA.

The U.S. Trade Representatives Office, or USTR, objected to Mexico’s ban on GM corn for human consumption and plans to eventually ban it as animal feed.

The USTR said in a statement that “Mexico’s measures are not based on science and undermine the market access it agreed to provide in the USMCA.”

The panel of experts will now be selected and will have about half a year to study the complaint and release its findings. Trade sanctions could follow if Mexico is found to have violated the U.S.-Mexico Canada free trade agreement.

The U.S. government said in June that talks with the Mexican government on the issue had failed to yield results.

Mexico wants to ban biotech corn for human consumption and perhaps eventually ban it for animal feed as well, something that both its northern partners say would damage trade and violate USMCA requirements that any health or safety standards be based on scientific evidence.

Mexico is the leading importer of U.S. yellow corn, most of which is genetically modified. Almost all is fed to cattle, pigs and chickens in Mexico, because Mexico doesn’t grow enough feed corn. Corn for human consumption in Mexico is almost entirely domestically-grown white corn, though corn-meal chips or other processed products could potentially contain GM corn.

Mexico argues biotech corn may have health effects, even when used as fodder, but hasn’t yet presented proof.

Mexico had previously appeared eager to avoid a major showdown with the United States on the corn issue — but not eager enough to completely drop talk of any ban.

In February, Mexico’s Economy Department issued new rules that dropped the date for substituting imports of GM feed corn. The new rules say Mexican authorities will carry out “the gradual substitution” of GM feed and milled corn, but sets no date for doing so and says potential health issues will be the subject of study by Mexican experts “with health authorities from other countries.”

Under a previous version of the rules, some U.S. growers worried a GM feed corn ban could happen as soon as 2024 or 2025.

While the date was dropped, the language remained in the rules about eventually substituting GM corn, something that could cause prices for meat to skyrocket in Mexico, where inflation is already high.

U.S. farmers have worried about the potential loss of the single biggest export market for U.S. corn. Mexico has been importing GM feed corn from the U.S. for years, buying about $3 billion worth annually.

World

Associated Press

Stock market today: Global shares are mixed and yen weakens as Japan’s central bank stands pat

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mixed on Friday after Wall Street touched fresh records, with benchmarks pushed higher by the frenzy over artificial-intelligence technology. France’s CAC 40 dropped 1.3% in early trading to 7,606.73 while Germany’s DAX dipped 0.5% to 18,174.98. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2% to 8,143.79. The future for the Dow Jones […]

17 hours ago

Associated Press

Muslims start the Hajj against the backdrop of the devastating Israel-Hamas war

MINA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — In sweltering temperatures, Muslim pilgrims in the Saudi city of Mecca converged on a vast desert tent camp Friday, officially starting the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Earlier, they circled the cube-shaped Kaaba in the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site. More than 1.5 million pilgrims from around the world have already amassed […]

19 hours ago

Associated Press

British coroner criticizes US government over death of teen motorcyclist Harry Dunn in 2019

LONDON (AP) — A British coroner criticised the U.S. government on Thursday over a lack of training for diplomatic personnel prior to a road accident in August 2019 that saw a teenage motorcyclist killed by one of its employees. At the end of a four-day inquiry into the accident outside RAF Croughton, an air base […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

Israelis and Palestinians are hopeful but cautious over the latest cease-fire proposal

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — A proposed cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas is raising hopes that eight months of fighting could soon come to an end. Displaced Palestinians are desperate to return home and rebuild, while Israelis yearn for dozens of captives taken by Hamas to be freed. The U.S.-backed proposal is the latest […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

US reporter Evan Gershkovich, jailed in Russia on espionage charges, to stand trial, officials say

MOSCOW (AP) — U.S. reporter Evan Gershkovich, jailed in Russia on espionage charges, will stand trial in the city of Yekaterinburg, Russian authorities said Thursday. Russia’s Prosecutor General’s office said an indictment of Gershkovich has been finalized and his case was filed to the Sverdlovsky Regional Court in the city in the Ural Mountains. Gershkovich […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares mixed after AI hopes nudge Wall St to records. BOJ stands pat

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed in muted trading Friday after Wall Street’s continued frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology nudged indexes on Wall Street to more records. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 0.7% to 38,998.04 after the Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy intact, though it did say it intends to begin reducing its […]

2 days ago

US escalates trade dispute with Mexico over limits on genetically modified corn