WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: U.S. Establishes USMCA Dispute Panel on Mexico’s Agricultural Biotechnology Measures

August 21, 2023

WASHINGTON – Last week, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced that the United States is establishing a dispute settlement panel under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). This panel challenges measures regarding certain Mexican measures concerning products of agricultural biotechnology that are not based in science and threaten to disrupt American exports of corn and harm American farmers.

A bipartisan group of elected officials and industry leaders commended Ambassador Tai’s announcement and USTR’s continued commitment to secure the interests of America’s farmers and producers.
See below for what they are saying:
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08): “USMCA’s new and improved enforcement mechanism was key to the overwhelming bipartisan support the agreement received in Congress…Ambassador Tai made the right call challenging Mexico’s unscientific ban of American agricultural exports.”
House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (MA-01): “USTR rightfully is relying on these improved enforcement mechanisms to ensure that Mexico abides by its trade obligations. Looking forward, we must seek this same accountability, or even greater, in all our trade agreements because commitments are meaningless without strong enforcement. I commend USTR’s decision to seek a dispute settlement panel today, and Ways and Means Democrats stand at the ready to continue pushing the bounds of what’s possible through cooperative, honest partnerships.”
House Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Adrian Smith (NE-03): Thankfully, because of the hard work that went into the negotiation of USMCA – a true, enforceable trade agreement – the United States has tools to hold Mexico accountable. I’m glad the Biden administration finally decided to fully deploy these enforcement mechanisms… I will continue working with Ambassador Tai and Secretary Vilsack to demand a level playing field for U.S. agriculture producers.”
Senator Chuck Grassley (IA): “Good news USTR is finally using USMCA 2call in panel of trade experts 2 resolve US-Mexico dispute over GMO corn If the experts need proof GMO corn is OK u can look at me Im a longtime human laboratory for GMOs bc I’ve been eating for 30yrs Mexico's ban is unscientific& anti-trade”
Senate Agriculture Committee Member Deb Fischer (NE): “I welcome USTR’s decision to move forward with a dispute resolution panel under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. This much-needed step will hold Mexico accountable and prevent its blatant trade violation under the USMCA. We must continue using every available option to stop this unscientific and economically damaging ban on genetically modified corn from coming into effect. It would harm Nebraska producers, hurt consumers in Mexico, and sabotage international trade.”
National Corn Growers Association: “U.S. officials have exhausted every avenue trying to resolve this conflict and are left with no other choice but to turn to a third-party panel in hopes of quickly rectifying this issue. We are deeply appreciative of USTR for standing up for America’s corn growers.”
Nancy Travis, Vice President of International Affairs, Biotechnology Innovation Organization: “The Biotechnology Innovation Organization supports today’s action by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to request formation of a dispute resolution panel under the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) concerning Mexico’s harmful ban on biotech corn. We thank USTR for moving forward expeditiously with this important next step toward returning trade with Mexico to the science-based trade conditions to which North American trade partners agreed in the USMCA. Today’s action is necessary to ensure food security for Mexico’s consumers and supports access to safe, sustainable agricultural technologies for North American farmers.”
Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO, U.S. Grains Council: “The U.S. Grains Council thanks the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for requesting this dispute panel through the USMCA. Mexico’s policies on biotechnology are not based on sound science and are ultimately designed to block U.S. corn exports. We have had a long and productive relationship with Mexico. It is our number one market for U.S. corn, and we support this action because it will likely be the most expedient way to ensure that positive relationship continues.”
American Farm Bureau Federation: “AFBF appreciates U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai for her continued commitment to ensuring Mexico lives up to its responsibilities under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement by allowing fair trade from the United States. Mexico’s ban on bioengineered corn is not only a clear violation of USMCA, it also ignores science and denies families in Mexico safe and affordable food. America’s farmers are upholding their obligations by meeting demand while achieving important sustainability goals. Mexico must do the same.”