Mexico softens plan to ban imports of US GM feed corn. WGN Radio 720

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico on Monday appeared to back off plans to ban imports of US genetically engineered corn for animal feed.

Mexico’s Department of Economic Affairs said a new decree on the matter was issued on Monday, removing dates to replace imports of GM feed maize. Some imported corn is also ground and powdered for use in corn chips and other snacks.

After previous legislation, some US growers were concerned that a ban on GM feed corn could take place in 2024 or 2025.

U.S. farmers fear the loss of the largest export market for U.S. corn. Mexico has been importing her GM feed corn from the United States for years, buying about $3 billion worth of it annually.

The new decree still says Mexican authorities will implement a “phased replacement” of GM feed and ground corn, but has not set a date for doing so, and potential health problems have been raised by Mexican experts. “It will be the subject of research with health authorities in other countries,” said the agency.

“Regarding the use of genetically modified corn for livestock feed and industrial use, the date of banning its use has been removed,” the economic bureau said in a statement. “A working group will be established with the national and international private sector to achieve an orderly transition.”

Mexico, where corn was first domesticated about 9,000 years ago, continues to ban imports of GM seed corn to protect its native species.

Mexico will also ban the use of GM corn for direct human consumption. In Mexico, it consists primarily of raw white corn and white corn tortilla flour. Mexico does not need to import white corn from the US where most corn is yellow or sweet corn.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Mexico’s previous position was “not science-based” and “disrupted billions of dollars in bilateral agricultural trade, causing serious harm to U.S. farmers and Mexican livestock producers. It can cause economic damage,” he said.

The U.S. Trade Administration did not respond to a request for comment on the revised legislation announced Monday.

There were concerns that the ban could violate free trade agreements between the United States, Mexico and Canada. Mexico wants to avoid full-blown trade complaints under the deal on the corn issue and disputes over Mexico’s energy sector.

The US says Mexico unfairly favors state-owned power and oil companies over US competitors and clean energy suppliers. Canada is also participating in this appeal. Mexico softens plan to ban imports of US GM feed corn. WGN Radio 720

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