Mexico offers to extend the deadline to ban genetically modified corn until 2025

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Mexico has offered to extend a deadline to ban genetically modified (GM) corn until 2025 and is working on a proposal to overhaul its plan, Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro said on Wednesday.

Buenrostro said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had told the United States Mexico could delay the contentious GM corn transition until 2025, a year later than previously expected.

Mexico is crafting a proposal to modify and “make clearer” the presidential decree which is currently set to ban herbicide glyphosate and GM corn in 2024, she added.

“Right now, we are working here within the government to make this new decree and present it,” Buenrostro told reporters at a news conference in Mexico City.

The country’s GM corn decree has shaken the international agriculture sector and prompted threats of legal action from the United States, Mexico’s source of about 17 million tonnes of imported corn. In November, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the United States could consider steps under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade pact.

Soon after, Lopez Obrador said he was seeking a deal with Washington, which could include extending the transition.

The ban was focused on corn for human consumption, he said, and that GM yellow corn imports for animal feed would still be allowed, pending a permit by health regulator COFEPRIS.

Buenrostro’s comments were one of the clearest signs yet that Mexico is ready to backpedal on the planned corn import ban.

U.S. farmers want stronger action than just an extension, said Angus R. Kelly, director of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association.

“Any attempt to ban any form of biotech corn, including corn grown for human consumption, is illegal under the USMCA,” Kelly said by email. “Extending the deadline would also extend the uncertainty for America’s corn growers who are making decisions now that will affect crops well into the future.”

About 18% to 20% of corn Mexico imports from the United States is white corn, used in food products like tortillas.

Juan Carlos Anaya, director of Mexico’s Agricultural Markets Consultant Group, called Buenrostro’s comments “good news” for Mexico’s corn purchasing sectors and international producers and exports.

A meeting with U.S. officials to discuss Mexico’s new proposals could be scheduled on Dec. 16, Buenrostro said.

Source: El Financiero

Mexico Daily Post