Putting its warnings into action, the Biden administration officially accused Mexico on Thursday of violating North American trade rules by prohibiting imports of genetically modified white corn used in making tortillas, a staple of the Mexican diet. Mexico, the birthplace of corn and a top U.S. trade partner, said it was ready to defend its ban before a USMCA dispute panel.
Farmer adoption of genetically modified crop varieties is spreading beyond the well-known dominance of the major field crops of corn, soybeans, and cotton, said a USDA report. When lesser-known GM crops such as canola, potatoes, and apples are counted, about 55 percent of U.S. cropland is planted to GM varieties, said the Economic Research Service report.
The Biden administration asked for USMCA consultations with Mexico over its ban on imports of GMO corn for human consumption, the last step before filing a trade complaint in the long-running dispute.
If the United States takes its complaint against Mexico's ban on imports of GMO white corn to a USMCA panel, it could take 155 days — until late December or even January — for a final resolution, although a U.S. victory is likely, said three Ohio State University analysts.
With a corn-state senator demanding speedy action, U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai said on Thursday that she would not allow a dispute with Mexico over genetically modified corn “to go on indefinitely.” A 30-day period for technical consultations between the nations, arguably the last chance to avert a USMCA trade complaint, expires on April 7.
Brazil, one of the world's most populous nations, has joined neighboring Argentina in approval of the cultivation and sale of wheat that is genetically modified to resist drought — another milestone in the campaign to apply biotechnology to food directly consumed as part of the human diet.
On the day before President Biden was to meet Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the head of the largest U.S. farm group called for prompt resolution of a threat by Mexico to block imports of U.S. corn in one year's time.
Biden administration officials refused to say more than that they were studying potential resolutions to a blossoming dispute over GMO corn exports on Wednesday, although Mexico’s agriculture minister said an informal agreement already existed. Minister Victor Villalobos claimed U.S. officials were satisfied with a proposal to delay a ban on the import of GMO corn until 2025, according to a published report.
The history of the current dispute between Mexico and the U.S. over genetically modified corn has roots much deeper than the presidential decree that set it off. Opposition to GMO crops in Mexico has simmered for twenty years, born of worries that ancient landrace varieties of corn that are central to the country’s social, cultural and economic well-being would be lost. (No paywall)
n discussions to avert a potential shutoff of U.S. corn exports to Mexico, a senior-level Mexican delegation told U.S. officials that they wanted to ensure self-sufficiency in corn for tortillas. U.S. officials said Mexico "presented some potential amendments" to its presidential decree against imports of genetically modified corn beginning in January 2024.
Ahead of a visit by Mexican government leaders, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Thursday that the Biden administration was ready to challenge Mexico under North American trade rules unless it “rectifies” a presidential decree that would ban imports of genetically modified corn at the start of 2024.
For the second time in a week, the Supreme Court rejected Bayer's attempts to shield itself from lawsuits alleging that its Roundup weedkiller is carcinogenic. Bayer said it "is not surprised" by the decision on Monday and pointed to the possibility of a change in the legal environment in its favor.
Food regulators approved a genetically modified wheat variety for human consumption in Australia and New Zealand, a victory in the rocky campaign to apply biotechnology to grains directly consumed as part of the diet. No GMO wheat is approved for sale in the United States.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wasted no time, after officially exiting the European Union last Friday, in courting a bilateral trade deal with America, decrying “hysterical” fears about U.S. food standards such as genetically-modified crops, The Guardian reported. “I look at the …
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture purchased $18 million worth of U.S. wheat last week, days after announcing it would not interrupt imports because of the discovery of GMO wheat in a fallow field in Washington State. The Japan Agricultural Times reported the ministry said on July 17 that it had adopted a new inspection method so there was no need to suspend purchases.
The USDA official overseeing organic agriculture said the sector, which rejects GMO crops along with the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, might benefit from gene-edited varieties. “There is the opportunity to open the discussion,” said Agriculture Undersecretary Greg Ibach.
The GMO wheat discovered growing wild in a Washington State field this spring actually sprouted from two different strains developed by Monsanto, the USDA announced over the weekend. Genetically engineered wheat is not approved for cultivation anywhere in the world, yet "volunteer" herbicide-resistant plants have been confirmed four times in the U.S. Northwest more than a decade after field trials ended.
In a bellwether trial, a federal jury found Monsanto liable for causing blood cancer in a man who used its Roundup weedkiller, and awarded the man, Edwin Hardeman, more than $80 million in damages, said The Recorder.
A new investigation by FERN and Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Journalism, shows that the EPA "ignored scientists’ warnings and extensive research that showed dicamba would evaporate into the air and ruin crops miles away, according to documents obtained through public records requests and lawsuits. Instead, the EPA’s approval was based on studies by the companies that manufacture dicamba, which independent scientists say were seriously flawed." (No paywall)