Mexican GM Corn Ban Looms

Sep 30, 2022

Mexico’s looming ban on GM corn imports has been updated from a “watch” to a “warning.”

And after nearly two years of watchful eyes, the sirens are officially going off.

Refresher: At the end of 2020, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced that his country would stop importing transgenic corn starting in January 2024.

What’s the issue? Proponents of the ban claim that GM corn will contaminate the nation’s native varieties. And as the birthplace of the modern corn plant, Mexico is rather finicky on this issue.

Open to compromise? Victor Villalobos, Mexico’s Agriculture Minister, has indicated that the import ban will not affect yellow corn used for livestock feed.

Or… maybe not. His comments aren’t “official” Mexican policy, and AMLO stated earlier this month, “We do not accept GMO corn.”

Dun dun dunnn…

But here’s the rub, AMLO: Mexico imports 17M metric tons of corn from the U.S. each year. And, it’s estimated that the ban will increase their corn import costs by $4.4B over a decade-long period, contributing to food insecurity.

A United (States) response: As some ag and trade groups suggest the possibility of a USMCA trade agreement breach, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says that talks over the issue are ongoing.

Yet as ag groups, biotech firms, and international corn growers all begin to lobby the Mexican government, Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, warned, “Patience will wear thin in a few more months… we’ve got to change tactics.”

So buckle up… ‘cause it’s bound to be a wild ride.