Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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Vilsack Keeps Up Pressure on Mexico Over GMO Corn Ban

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is keeping up the pressure on Mexican officials to back off plans in 2024 to ban imports of GMO corn. Vilsack planned to hear from Mexican officials visiting Washington about how they’d modify President Lopez Obrador’s plans to ban imports of genetically modified corn starting in 2024.

But he warned; “If the proposal doesn’t meet what we think is consistent with the science and doesn’t meet what we think is consistent with the USMCA, we would absolutely continue to work with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office to begin the process of triggering whatever needs to be triggered under the USMCA. And that hasn’t changed, and it’s not going to change.”

The same message the Secretary delivered earlier to Mexico’s president. Vilsack; “By going down and speaking to the president and making sure he understood that, I think he respected that and we hope two things—one, we hope that we continue to see corn that’s produced in the United States (go) to Mexico, and we hope to see consistency and adherence to the terms and conditions of the USMCA or a process in which we trigger the dispute resolution aspect of the USMCA.”

Vilsack, on a press call announcing new rural clean energy grants, added his voice to Ag lawmakers’ for the Senate to speed up confirmation of a key USDA trade nominee.

“It would be certainly nice if the United States Senate would finish its work in getting a highly-qualified candidate who’s been nominated to be Undersecretary for Trade, Alexis Taylor, who’s currently the commissioner in Oregon, and who has worked at USDA in the Foreign Ag Service, an expert in that field. It would be great if they could finally finish their work on nominations.”

Also still awaiting confirmation is President Biden’s pick for USTR Chief Ag Negotiator, Doug McKalip, approved 27-0 by the Senate Finance Committee in September.

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