Mexico is banning US GMO corn — but not enforcing it? What’s really going on?

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Credit: Adobe
Credit: Adobe

On the last day of 2020, Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, issued a decree that has sparked a great deal of concern in the American agribusiness industry.

It has been referred to as a ban on genetically modified corn, which is of significant concern to those who actually grow the stuff, namely American farmers. But a new report from David Alire Garcia at Reuters indicates that things aren’t quite so simple. For one thing, the wording of the decree is ambiguous. For another, powers within the Mexican government don’t seem to agree on what they want the decree to mean.

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USDA chief Tom Vilsack said that he had spoken to [Mexico’s agriculture minister Victor] Villalobos, who indicated that the ban did not extend to corn used for animal feed, which would be most of the US corn exports to Mexico, and which would thus be welcome news for American corn growers and agribusiness. 

According to the Reuters report, though, this is not necessarily the case. The wording of the decree seems to have been deliberately ambiguous to allow for the issue to be settled later. And that settling is still underway.

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