The national coalition of export-focused agriculture commodity organizations is welcoming the Canadian government’s position on Mexico banning the use of biotech corn in tortillas or dough.
Trade Minister Mary Ng and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay have announced Canada will participate as a third party in the dispute settlement proceedings initiated by the U.S. against Mexico.
“Canada shares the concerns of the United States that Mexico is not compliant with the science and risk analysis obligations” in the Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade deal, the ministers confirmed, in a statement issued late last week.
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance is welcoming the Canadian government’s decision to join the U.S. as a third party as the issue has escalated to the formal dispute settlement stage.
“This agreement has been very beneficial to the health of the agricultural sectors in our respective countries, while ensuring the continued availability of sustainably grown and produced agriculture and agri-food products across our continental trading block,” notes CAFTA president Dan Darling. “For this to continue, all parties to CUSMA have an obligation to ensure that regulatory measures are developed and implemented in accordance with the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) obligations of the agreement. Specifically, SPS measures must be based on scientific and risk-based principles, relevant international standards, and not create unnecessary barriers to trade.”
The dispute revolves around a decree signed by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s in February banning the use of genetically-modified corn in tortillas and dough, with plans to phase out the use of biotech corn in all products for human consumption and animal feed. Both Canada and the U.S. are also concerned about Mexico rejecting approvals for imports and sale of certain biotechnology products over the last few years.
Unlike the U.S., Canada doesn’t export much corn to Mexico, but canola — most of which is also genetically-modified — and products made from canola are Canada’s largest agri-food export to Mexico, and were valued at around $1.6 billion in 2022.