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House Members Urge USTR to Act on Mexico Biotech Corn Dispute

Twenty-four members of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee sent a letter today to Ambassador Katherine Tai, calling on her to act to resolve a lingering trade dispute with Mexico over biotech corn imports. Reps. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) led the bipartisan effort. 

“We have been working closely with Congress on this issue, and it’s inspiring to see congressional champions from both parties faithfully taking up the mantle,” said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Tom Haag. “These members of Congress are now looking to Ambassador Tai to uphold the integrity of USMCA.”

The letter is the latest development and response from U.S. officials as the ag community braces for the fallout if President Andrés Manuel López Obrador follows through with a promise to ban biotech corn shipments beginning in early 2024. Ninety percent of U.S. corn is biotech corn.

NCGA has been sounding the alarm on this issue for months. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack traveled to Mexico City last week to meet with President López Obrador. During the meeting, the secretary told the Mexican president that absent an acceptable resolution on the issue the U.S. would consider all options, including “taking formal steps to enforce our legal rights under the USMCA.”

NCGA has been asking the Biden administration to set a timeline for negotiations and to move forward with a formal complaint under USMCA if the reasonable solution is not reached.

In addition to Reps. Smith and Kildee, those signing the letter included Reps. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Ron Estes (R-Kan.), Dwight Evans (D-Penn.), Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) Mike Kelly (R-Penn.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), Gregory Murphy (R-NC), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands), Jason Smith (R-Mo.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Lloyd Smucker (R-Penn), Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.).