By Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will consider “all options,” including a formal trade dispute panel, unless Mexico addresses Washington’s concerns over Mexico’s plan to limit imports of genetically modified corn, a senior U.S. trade official said on Wednesday.
The United States has threatened a trade dispute panel under a trilateral agreement with Mexico and Canada over the plan, which would ban genetically modified corn for human consumption.
Mexico believes the disagreement is “politically motivated,” its economy ministry said on Monday.
The latest U.S. comments came days after U.S. Agriculture Tom Vilsack said a trade dispute panel under the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement would be the next step if talks were not successful, followed by talks between top U.S. trade negotiator Katherine Tai and Mexican Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro on Friday.
“These concerns are quite serious. Mexico’s policies are not based upon science,” the official said. “They would cause serious harm to U.S. farmers and Mexican livestock producers, and can further stifle the very innovation … that we need to respond to climate change and food security challenges.”
White corn for food products comprises about 20% of Mexican corn imports from the U.S.
The official said Washington continued to press Mexico for “full and prompt” resolution of the issue, but declined to say when USTR could take action under USMCA.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Leslie Adler)