USTR urges Mexico to resume biotech approvals 

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai this week urged the Mexican government to resume approvals of biotechnology crop products. 

Tai met with officials from Mexico and Canada to discuss the first year of implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). 

In a July 7 meeting with Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Victor Villalobos and Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier, Tai highlighted the significance of the bilateral agricultural trade relationship between both countries and “emphasized the importance of Mexico immediately resuming the authorization of biotechnology products,” according to the USTR office.

In a presidential decree issued on Dec. 31, 2020, the Mexican government announced its intention to phase out the use of glyphosate and genetically modified corn for human consumption. The decree “creates a significant risk and uncertainty to cross border trade of corn and corn products,” noted agriculture groups in a March 22 letter. “As the largest importer of corn and corn products from the U.S., the Decree represents a dramatic shift in U.S.-Mexico trade relations and has the potential to negatively impact a significant portion of U.S. agricultural exports.”

During her meetings with Mexican officials this week, Tai also discussed expanding access for U.S. fresh potatoes, aligning the countries’ policies on ethanol fuel blends and implementing USMCA’s environment chapter. Additional statements from the USTR note that Tai spoke with Canadian counterparts about softwood lumber, dairy, and World Trade Organization reform, among other topics.