WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., on Thursday joined a bipartisan letter to Biden administration officials to express their growing concern over Mexico’s efforts to ban U.S. genetically engineered corn.
The Mississippi Senators are among 26 who signed a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to encourage stronger action to counter Mexico’s plan to phase out the use of genetically modified corn by 2024, a move that is unsupported by science and runs afoul of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA).
“These actions are unsupported by science and a breach of USMCA. It would be detrimental to food security in Mexico, hurt U.S. agricultural sustainability, and stifle future agricultural technology innovations that would benefit both nations,” the Senators wrote.
“The impacts of the decree are already being felt by farmers in the United States as they purchase seed for next planting season. Certainly and predictability about our farmer’s ability to export products to Mexico is needed immediately as our farmers are already facing uncertain export markets, and rising input costs,” the Senator continued. “It is imperative that USTR ensure science-based trade standards are upheld. As such, we encourage USTR to closely examine the impact of Mexico’s actions to determine if it is in violation of the USMCA, and pursue any necessary dispute resolution.”
In 2021, Mississippi farmers produced more than 129.5 million bushels of corn with a production value of more than $748.2 million.
More than 90 percent of all corn acreage in the United States is planted with genetically engineered seeds. A ban on such seeds would imperil trade with Mexico, which represents the second largest importer of U.S. grown corn. Mexico purchased more than $4.7 billion in 2021.
U.S. Senators Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., led the letter, which was also signed by U.S. Senators John Boozman, R-Ark., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Roger Marshall, M.D., R-Kan., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Michael Rounds, R-S.D., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Bill Cassidy, M.D., R-La., Tim Scott, R-S.C., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Todd Young, R-Ind., John Thune, R-S.D., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
Read the signed letter here.