MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — Mexico is delaying import permits for GMO corn, saying the government intends to apply a GMO ban on grain used in animal feed, Reuters reported.

Juan Cortina, president of the National Farm Council, told the news agency that there are at least eight permits among hundreds of agricultural product import permits awaiting a resolution. The ban on GMO is not to go into effect for three years.

Cortina said there have been delays of up to two years from the health ministry’s sanitary protection agency COFEPRIS.

A prohibition on GMO corn would dramatically impact the grain trade between the United States and Mexico, which includes 16 million tonnes of annual US yellow corn exports, nearly all of it GMO.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador last year issued an executive order phasing out GMO corn and the herbicide glyphosate by 2024.

Industry leaders on both sides of the border have since been seeking clarity over how far-reaching the corn ban will be, Reuters said.

Cortina contradicted the assurance that US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he received from his Mexican counterpart that the prohibition would not be applied to GMO corn used for livestock feed.