Canada is supporting the USA in opposing Mexico’s ban on the use of genetically modified (GM) corn for food use, due to come into force next year.

In a statement on the Canadian government’s website on 25 August, Lawrence MacAuley, Minister of Agriculture and Food, and Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development, said Canada supported the USA’s position on the issue, World Grain wrote the same day.

“Canada shares the concerns of the USA that Mexico is not compliant with the science and risk analysis obligations under USMCA’s [United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement] Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Chapter,” the ministers were quoted as saying.

“Canada believes that the measures taken by Mexico are not scientifically supported and have the potential to unnecessarily disrupt trade in the North American market.

A decree was issued by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on 1 January 2021 banning the use of GM corn by 2024, World Grain wrote at the time.

In February, Mexico issued another decree relaxing some of the restrictions to allow its use in animal feed and the making of consumer products such as cosmetics, textiles and paper, Reuters wrote.

However, the modified decree maintained a ban on GM corn for human consumption, specifically in the use of making flour for tortillas – a staple of the Mexican diet, the report said.

Tortillas are generally made with white corn, most of which is produced domestically. The country imports about US$5bn/year of corn from the USA, mostly yellow GM corn for livestock feed.

On 21 August, Mexico announced that it would not make any additional changes to its decree on GM corn ahead of a dispute settlement panel requested by the USA, the report said.

The announcement followed a request made by the USA the previous week for a dispute settlement panel through USMCA, Reuters wrote.