ICGA and NCGA Applaud USTR for Requesting USMCA Panel Formation

Aug 17, 2023  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  Biotechnology |  Ethanol

The U.S. Trade Representative today requested a panel formation under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement over Mexico’s decision to ban imports of biotech corn used for human consumption.


“Trade is the largest market for Illinois corn and Mexico is our largest international customer for corn,” said Illinois farmer and Illinois Corn Growers Association President Matt Rush. “Illinois corn farmers are happy to see the USTR continue to take steps holding Mexico to the terms they agreed to when negotiating the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement for trade. Resolution of this trade dispute will bring certainty to the marketplace that Illinois corn farmers need.”


If USTR’s request is granted, a group of objective experts will be empaneled to hear the case and make a final determination based on the commitments both parties signed as part of the free trade agreement.


The dispute stems from a 2020 decree by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador that sought to ban imports of biotech corn beginning in January 2024. Mexico issued a revised decree in February of this year that banned biotech corn for human consumption effective immediately and left the door open for a future ban on biotech corn for feed.


Mexico is a top market for corn, the number one agricultural export from the U.S., which has led to strong concerns over how the ban would impact U.S. farmers, rural economies and food security for the people of Mexico.


In calendar year 2022, the US exported over 19 million bushels of white corn to Mexico. Over 750,000 bushels of white corn were exported directly from Illinois to Mexico in 2022. The decree is a political decision that is not supported by market demand or scientific reality. 


Given the high stakes, ICGA and corn grower leaders across the country began sounding the alarm last fall and have been calling on the Biden administration to initiate a dispute settlement under USMCA.