Nearly 70 food and agriculture organizations signed on to an ag value chain coalition letter urging President Joe Biden and the administration to utilize the enforcement tools available to it under USMCA and request consultations with Mexico over its treatment of agricultural biotechnology to provide a framework and timeline to resolve this issue. A copy of the letter is below for reference.
For USMCA to function properly, the U.S.-Mexico relationship must be underpinned by science-based, functioning laws and regulatory bodies. In recent years, the Government of Mexico has eschewed its responsibilities.
Despite multiple engagements by the U.S. government to resolve this situation through negotiations, Mexico recently released a new decree that still wrongly calls into question the safety of agricultural biotechnology products for human consumption by creating a non-science-based distinction of corn used for food and corn used for feed and industrial uses.
Please contact Erick Lutt, [email protected] at BIO or Michael Anderson, [email protected] at CRA if you have any questions.
March xx, 2023
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Biden:
As organizations representing America’s highly innovative and competitive food and agricultural value chain, we write to express our thanks for USTR’s announcement that it will begin technical consultations with Mexico concerning its action to ban imports of biotech corn.
We are disappointed that Mexico’s revised decree maintains policies related to agricultural technology, innovation and trade that are out of step with its commitments under the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA). As such, we support your administration’s request for consultations with Mexico regarding its treatment of agricultural biotechnology and denying the use of certain crop protection tools, to provide a framework and timeline to resolve this issue. We look forward to these consultations beginning promptly.
We appreciate the efforts of your administration to resolve this issue through negotiations, and Mexico’s efforts to narrow the scope of U.S. concerns. However, it is important to note that Mexico’s new decree issued on February 13, 2023, continues to limit the use of innovative agricultural tools, extends restrictions on safe crop protection products, and enacts barriers to trade. The new decree is inconsistent with USMCA obligations and fails to establish a science- and risk-based regulatory approval process for all agricultural biotechnology products and ignores the immediate need to establish a risk assessment process for gene editing technology. Without material scientific justification, the new decree draws a safety distinction between corn used for food and corn used for feed and industrial uses.
As your Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy, rightly noted, biotechnology is critical to achieve our climate goals, improve food security and sustainability, secure our supply chains, and grow the economy across all of America. Accomplishing these goals will require the U.S. government to address acute and systemic barriers that prevent growers from accessing innovative biotechnology.
The United States must use the dispute mechanisms afforded in trade agreements like the USMCA to ensure trade barriers or domestic policies do not limit the tools U.S. farmers have to sustainably produce food for our ever-growing world population. Sending a strong signal on enforcement will serve as a critical precedent for other trading partners.
Mr. President, we support your administration’s enforcement of a rules-based trading system for agricultural innovation and your efforts to stand up for American farmers, developers, traders, processors, manufacturers, and retailers.
Thank you for your attention to this issue.
Agribusiness Council of Indiana
Alabama Soybean and Corn Association
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Feed Industry Association
American Seed Trade Association
Arizona Bioindustry Association, Inc.
Association of American Railroads
Biotechnology Innovation Organization
Center for Global Health Innovation: Georgia Bio
Corn Growers Association of NC
Corn Growers Association of North Carolina
Corn Refiners Association
FMI – The Food Industry Association
Georgia Corn Growers Association
Idaho Technology Council
IL Corn Growers Association
Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization
Indiana Corn Growers Association
Indiana Health Industry Forum
INDUNIV RESEARCH CENTER, Inc. – Bioscience Cluster Puerto Rico
Iowa Corn Growers Association
Iowa Farm Bureau
Kansas Corn Growers Associaiton
Kentucky Corn Growers Association
Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation
Michigan Biosciences Industry Association
Michigan Corn Growers Association
Minnesota Corn Growers Association
Missouri Corn Growers Association
Missouri Farm Bureau
Montana Bioscience Association
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
National Corn Growers Association
National Cotton Council
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Grain and Feed Association
Nebraska Corn Growers Association
New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association
North American Meat Institute
North American Millers’ Association
North Dakota Corn Growers Association
Northeast Agribusiness & Feed Alliance, Inc.
Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association
Pennsylvania Corn Growers Association
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau
South Carolina Corn and Soybean Association
South Dakota Agri-Business Association
South Dakota Biotech
South Dakota Corn Growers Association
Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation
Texas Corn Producers Association
Texas Grain and Feed Association
U.S. Canola Association
U.S. Grains Council
Virginia Farm Bureau
Wisconsin Agri-Business Association
Wisconsin Corn Growers Association
Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation
Ambassador Katherine Tai, U.S. Trade Representative
Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture