A delegation of visiting Mexican government officials on Friday offered the Biden administration a possible compromise on its looming decree to ban genetically modified corn imports, including a proposal to delay implementation for a year until January, 2025, according to industry sources.
Mexico also pledged to reconsider its rejections of petitions for GM corn traits as well as to exempt imports of feed corn from any restrictions, according to the sources. When it comes to GM white corn, Mexico would take the novel approach of allowing it to enter but bar domestic food companies from using it to make tortillas or other products.
The proposal was laid out Friday to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai by Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, Agriculture Secretary Victor Villalobos, Economy Secretary H.E. María Luisa Albores González and other visiting officials.
“The Mexican delegation presented some potential amendments to the decree in an effort to address our concerns,” Vilsack and Tai said in a joint statement. “We agreed to review their proposal closely and follow up with questions or concerns in short order. There is a joint recognition that time is of the essence and we must determine a path forward soon.”
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A USDA spokesperson declined to talk about the contents of the Mexican proposal.
The Biotechnology Innovation Organization said in a statement that it is “crucial that Mexico meet its commitments under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and resume a science- and risk-based regulatory approval process for all agricultural biotechnology products …”
Otherwise, the group said it would urge USTR “to begin taking enforcement action provided within USMCA to give a concrete process and timeline to resolve Mexico’s treatment of agricultural biotechnology.”
Sources told Agri-Pulse the Mexican officials promised to return for a new meeting in January.