Canada will join a trade dispute initiated by the U.S. over Mexico’s restrictions on genetically modified corn imports.
“Canada shares the concerns of the U.S. that Mexico’s measures are not scientifically supported and have the potential to unnecessarily disrupt trade in the North American market,” Trade Minister Mary Ng and Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a statement June 9.
The ministers said Canada will participate as a third party in the dispute settlement consultations and will “continue to work with Mexico and the U.S. towards an outcome that preserves trade predictability and market access for our farmers and exporters.”
During the week of June 2, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai requested dispute settlement consultations with Mexico under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Mexico is the second-largest market for U.S. corn, where it’s used largely for animal feed. American officials have repeatedly criticized the Mexican government’s GMO corn prohibition, calling it unscientific.
If the dispute settlement consultations fail, the U.S. could request a dispute resolution panel. That escalation could ultimately result in more serious countermeasures, such as tariffs against Mexico.
Canada is not a major corn exporter, but Bloomberg reported earlier in 2023 that it’s concerned overall about Mexico putting arbitrary prohibitions on agriculture produced using biotechnology. The northern nation is the world’s top producer and exporter of canola, a genetically modified crop that is used in everything from deep-frying to salad dressing, with Mexico one of the top buyers.
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