Congressman Says Mexico is Too Late to Change USMCA Terms

DanAgri-Business, Legislative, Trade


If Mexico’s president wanted to restrict GMO corn from the U.S., the time to do that was more than three years ago, before he agreed to the terms of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). That’s the sentiment of Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan (D-MI-08).

“Our view is there’s nothing in the USMCA that gives him the authority to ignore internationally accepted scientific standards. And that’s what he’s doing to protect (Mexican) corn growers and for cultural reasons,” he said. “We understand that. It’s just not part of the agreement. And if the US is going to live up to the USMCA, then Mexico and Canada have to as well. And this is an example where Mexico is not living up to the agreement.”

Kildee says the USMCA offers better enforcement options than its predecessor, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In using those options, the US Trade Representative notified Mexico earlier this month that it is pursuing consultations. The consultations are direct interactions with the Mexican government that could last up to 60 days. If the two nations do not come to a resolution during the consultations, the US could then request a dispute panel. The panel would be made up of representatives from other nations, not including the US or Mexico, who would then decide which side is following the terms of the USMCA.


“I don’t think the Mexican government wants to go to a dispute panel because the USMCA language is very clear. The science is very clear. We don’t think they have a leg to stand on,” Kildee said.

Kildee also said if Mexico were allowed to change its mind on GMO corn, it could lead to them not following the trade terms in other areas. He brought up the issue during an earlier visit to Mexico, during which he spoke with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“I made that point, that if we decide that we’re going to ignore one aspect of the agreement, what’s to say that in a year, two years, or five years, there won’t be other aspects of the agreement that won’t be followed,” he said. “Trade between the US and Mexico – and Canada for that matter – becomes much less certain. That’s not good for the people who are involved in the industry. It’s certainly not good for agriculture, and it’s definitely not good for my corn growers that I represent.”

Kildee hopes the consultation process will result in a resolution between the nations.

“We’re open to being reasonable here. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to let the Mexican government decide that what we negotiated can’t continue and my corn growers are going to pay the price,” he said. “That’s just not acceptable to me.”

Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s program here.

Congressman Says Mexico is Too Late to Change USMCA Terms

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet News Hour and The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.