MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — Mexico’s incoming leadership will not pursue a goal of outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to reduce imports of yellow corn, said Julio Berdegue, who has been named agriculture minister for president-elect Claudia Sheinbaum, Reuters reported.

Berdegue said the nation will focus on maintaining self-sufficiency in white corn, which is used for tortilla production

During his administration, Lopez Obrador sought to dramatically reduce imports of yellow corn, most of which comes from the United States, in favor of boosting local production.  

Berdegue said self-sufficiency in yellow corn is not a goal in this six-year term, and Mexico likely will have to continue importing large amounts, Reuters reported.

Mexico imported 15.3 million tonnes of corn in 2023, making it the largest importer of US corn last year. It is set to import between 14 million and 16 million tonnes of yellow corn this year.

López Obrador issued a decree in 2023 banning the use of GM corn for dough and tortillas and to gradually substitute GM corn used for animal feed and for other forms of human consumption with non-GM corn.

The United States claims that the 2023 decree violates the USMCA requirement that parties use science-based principles when implementing measures because the United States claims that scientific studies have shown GM corn is safe for human consumption.

A dispute settlement consultation did not resolve the issue, so a formal dispute panel was convened. A final report is expected in November.