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Groups Call on North American Leaders to Follow USMCA to Resolve Disputes, Grow Trade

January 9, 2023

The governments of Mexico, Canada and the United States should look to the framework in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to continue growing the complementary trade and integrated markets throughout North America, agriculture-related associations said in a joint statement as the heads of the three nations gather today in Mexico City.


The groups encouraged the three governments to take advantage of relevant USMCA committees to align on best practices and resolve trade disputes such as Mexico’s proposed ban on some uses of biotech corn and other agricultural technologies.


“Through science- and risk-based policies that are efficient, predictable, and compliant with international obligations, North American markets can embrace technology that advances food security, agricultural sustainability and rural prosperity and foster a variety of cost-effective food choices for our consumers,” the groups wrote.


The three nations enjoy the largest trilateral agricultural trade relationship in the world. Agricultural trade in North American has grown from $7.8 billion to $67 billion, a 769.7% increase since the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect in 1994. USMCA replaced NAFTA in 2020 and provided “the world’s best framework” to turn the supply chain challenges of the last few years into an opportunity to further strengthen North American trade in agricultural products, the groups added.


“USMCA’s enhanced provisions for agricultural biotechnology set it apart from previous trade agreements,” said Beth Ellikidis, vice president of agriculture & environment at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. “We are hopeful that the discussions taking place this week in Mexico City will affirm the importance of agricultural innovation for tackling climate change and food security and ensure our trading partners have functional regulatory systems that promote transparency and cooperation consistent with the agreement.”


“Any ban on biotech corn imports into Mexico would not only run counter to the science showing that biotech corn is safe for human consumption, but it would also be felt by American farmers and rural communities and create a hardship for the Mexican people whose food security depends on these shipments,” said National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag.


“Robust agricultural trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico plays a critical role in global food security. Strong adherence to USMCA and swift resolution to disputes not only strengthens the North American continent; it allows us to continue feeding the world,” said Corn Refiners Association President and CEO John Bode.


"Consumers across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico have benefited greatly from science-based plant breeding technologies,” said Jane DeMarchi, president of the North American Millers Association. “We are hopeful the discussions this week will strengthen the longstanding cooperation between our markets and governments to allow the continued trade of safe products for food and feed."

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