Budzinski Pushes Back Against Mexico’s Corn Import Restrictions

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) led a bipartisan letter with Representatives Darin LaHood (IL-16), Bill Foster (IL-11), Mike Bost (IL-12) and Mary Miller (IL-15) urging the U.S. Trade Representative to keep all options on the table to enforce trade commitments as Mexico considers a ban on genetically modified (GM) corn from the United States. The letter also requests updates on the negotiations with Mexico from Ambassador Tai. 

Illinois farmers are the second-largest producer of corn in the United States, with a large majority of such corn grown with GM seeds. Mexico’s ban is inconsistent with the terms of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“Mexico’s plan to impose an import ban can have long-term detrimental effects to local economies, family farmers and the corn industry here in Illinois. Furthermore, the choice to ban uses of GM corn but not other uses of biotechnology underscores the lack of scientific basis for the action,” wrote the lawmakers. “On the heels of the public health emergency and a war across the globe that has contributed to higher energy costs as well as disrupted supply chains, our farmers cannot afford additional challenges.” 

Budzinski’s bipartisan letter can be found here and below:

March 1, 2023

Dear Ambassador Tai and Chief Negotiator McKalip:

We write today to thank you for your continued work in holding Mexico accountable regarding their pending ban on imports of genetically modified (GM) corn from the United States. While substantial progress has been made, we remain concerned that Mexico’s unscientific approach to GM corn would severely impact our local farmers and set a harmful precedent. Mexico’s failure to live up to its transnational commitments would negatively impact the Illinois Corn industry and we urge you to take every step necessary to resolve this situation amicably. We request a full update on the ongoing negotiations with Mexico on this subject, and given this decision is clearly inconsistent with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), we ask all enforcement mechanisms remain on the table.

As you know, Illinois farmers are the second-largest producer of corn in the United States, with a large majority of such corn grown with GM seeds. These scientific enhancements have helped our farmers grow more with less, reduce their impact on the environment, and conserve the use of water and pesticides, contributing to food security at home and across the globe. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, between 2020 and 2021, Mexico remained the number one ranked importer of U.S. Corn. Mexico’s plan to impose an import ban can have long-term detrimental effects to local economies, family farmers and the corn industry here in Illinois. Furthermore, the choice to ban uses of GM corn but not other uses of biotechnology underscores the lack of scientific basis for the action. On the heels of the public health emergency and a war across the globe that has contributed to higher energy costs as well as disrupted supply chains, our farmers cannot afford additional challenges.

We’ve heard from family farmers across our districts and we want to ensure that they will be protected and maintain certainty over the future. We are grateful for your strong and swift response to Mexico’s unsubstantiated actions, and we urge you to use your full authority and USMCA’s enforcement mechanisms to come to an agreement as soon as possible. Inability to do so will cause grave concern among our constituents. We thank you for your attention to this matter and we look forward to partnering with you to support Illinoisan and American farmers to ensure their continued export of important commodities.

Sincerely, 

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