MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — Little progress was made during a meeting between US and Mexican government officials on Jan. 23 on Mexico’s plan to phase out the use and importation of genetically engineered corn by Jan. 31, 2024, according to US trade officials who participated in the meeting.  

US Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor and Office of the US Trade Representative Chief Agricultural Negotiator Doug McKalip said US officials continue to engage with their Mexican counterparts at the highest levels to address their “grave concerns” with Mexico’s biotechnology policies.

“We appreciate the active engagement between US and Mexican government officials following US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s trip to Mexico in November, and the proposed modifications to the presidential decree shared by Mexico at the end of 2022,” McKallip and Taylor said. “However, these changes are not sufficient and Mexico’s proposed approach, which is not grounded in science, still threatens to disrupt billions of dollars in bilateral agricultural trade, cause serious economic harm to US farmers and Mexican livestock producers, and stifle important innovations needed to help producers respond to pressing climate and food security challenges.”

If Mexico follows through with the import ban, the economic consequences would be devastating for US farmers and Mexican consumers, according to a recently released study by World Perspectives, Inc. The study found the US corn industry would lose $3.56 billion in the first year following a full ban, proceeded by a $5.56 billion loss in the second year, according to the report’s estimates. Over the 10-year forecast period, the corn industry would experience a $13.61 billion economic loss.

Mexico cites health concerns, but such a trade restriction could violate the US-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement.

“We made it clear today that if this issue is not resolved, we will consider all options, including taking formal steps to enforce our rights under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” the US trade officials said.