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Farm Action Weighs in on GM Corn Trade Dispute in Support of Higher-Value Non-GM Market Opportunity for Corn Growers

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, Farm Action applied to submit a public comment to the panel reviewing the U.S.-Mexico trade dispute over the Mexican government’s ban on genetically modified (GM) corn, sharing a perspective that has been excluded so far: Mexico’s preference for higher-value non-GM corn represents a tremendous market opportunity for American farmers, one that the U.S. government should be supporting our farmers to meet.

The ban, issued by Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, gradually phases out GM corn imports. The U.S. has responded to this ban by initiating a dispute under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, claiming the ban violates the trade agreement and will harm farmers. Accordingly, an independent panel has been established to accept public comments, investigate, and rule on Mexico’s ban.

“U.S. farmers who produce non-GM corn have reported promising financial returns, including higher premiums and improved net profits,” Farm Action’s application says. “If the U.S. shifted 180,000 acres (0.2% of its corn acreage) of GM corn to non-GM, it would generate $7.75 million in additional premiums for U.S. farmers and successfully meet Mexico’s shifting needs.”

Farm Action’s application asserts that the opposition of the U.S. government to this ban, rather than a defense for corn growers, “primarily protects the major seed and agrochemical corporations who would have the most to lose if a substantial number of American corn farmers were to shift to non-GM production.”

Bayer, which owns Monsanto, is one of a handful of corporations controlling the seed and agrochemical market, and recently “pressured Mexico into dropping its glyphosate ban,” says the application. Mexico’s 2020 decree announced the intention to phase out both GM corn and its associated herbicide, glyphosate.

In submitting this application, Farm Action is requesting the opportunity to represent the interests of U.S. farmers as the panel evaluates this dispute. The U.S. government, the application says, should “redirect our resources in support of U.S. farmers, instead of funneling them into a short-sighted and misdirected opposition to Mexico’s GM corn ban.”

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