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Mexico imposes 50% tariff on white corn imports in trade dispute with US and Canada

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico began imposing a 50% tariff on white corn imports on Saturday. The president said the measures are aimed at boosting domestic production and preventing imports of genetically modified corn.

The measures, which were published in the Mexican government’s official gazette late Friday and are due to go into effect until the end of the year, came amid a trade dispute between Mexico and its North American trading partners Canada and the United States over genetically engineered corn.

White corn was one of the basic foods exempted from tariffs earlier this year by the Mexican government to curb inflation. However, according to the decree, the decision “does not have a material impact on price declines in the domestic market and is therefore considered appropriate to be repealed.”

Inflation was 5.84% in May, and the Mexican government believes inflation is largely contained.

Mexico imports some of the white corn used for human consumption, mainly from the United States and South Africa. But the tariffs are against free trade agreements between the United States, Mexico and Canada and could further complicate Mexico’s existing trade disputes with the United States and Canada over GM maize.

Mexico wants to restrict GM white corn for human consumption and eventually veto GM yellow corn for animal feed. The US and Canada claim it will adversely affect regional trade. Mexico has been importing GM feed corn from the United States for many years, buying about $3 billion worth of it annually.

The US and Canada said Mexico’s concerns about the dangers of GM maize were “not based on science.”

Earlier this month, Canada announced it would join a trade disputes committee requested by the United States over proposed restrictions on imports of genetically engineered corn from Mexico. After talks with the Mexican government yielded no results, the U.S. government requested that dispute procedures formally begin on June 2.

It will take about six months for a panel of experts to investigate the complaint and publish its findings. Trade sanctions could be imposed if Mexico is found to have violated the US-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he was not afraid of controversy and insisted that only domestic white corn should be used for food.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times LLC. Mexico imposes 50% tariff on white corn imports in trade dispute with US and Canada

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