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By C.J. Miller, Hoosier Ag Today

Mexico's upcoming ban on U.S. imports of genetically-modified corn or corn grown with glyphosate won't be changed in any way, according to their deputy agriculture minister. But, an Indiana ag industry leader who serves in Washington, D.C. doesn't believe that Mexico will end up going through with it.

"I have very high hopes that the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) rules that were adopted will come into play and that will get straightened out mostly because it has to," says Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of the State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). He had served as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs during the Trump Administration.

McKinney says the U.S. has been respectful of Mexico's decision not to deviate from their long-time corn production methods.

"This all started back when biotech came along and they said we're not going to plant any of that because we, Mexico, are the origin of maize. Well, okay? But, we've been developing plants and animals since the Garden of Eden or whatever your starting point would be. It's a little interesting to find that you're not going to advance your agriculture in your productivity and the will of your people, but that's what it is and so we've respected that. Now, that's starting to change a little bit and those impositions are being thrown back at us in our farmers," according to McKinney.

But, McKinney says many new corn hybrid developments here in the U.S. have not yet been used because of that issue.

"The troubling part is there are some traits now that are being held back," according to McKinney. "They have not been placed in new hybrids because of the respect for that market. We've got to get that straightened out."

McKinney believes that Mexico has too much to lose if they end up going through with their import ban.

"I think pressure will grow on them, not just from the U.S., but from many countries like Brazil, Argentina, and others because it's not science and it's not well-founded. They need our corn and our soy meal. They can't go anywhere else and get it for anywhere near the price of what it comes from the U.S., so it's got to get fixed," says McKinney.

The upcoming ban, which was issued via decree by Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Dec. 31, 2020, could cause billions of dollars of economic harm to both countries. However, Mexico says they plan to make agreements with individual farmers across the U.S., Argentina, and Brazil in order to circumvent buying corn in bulk through the U.S., according to Reuters.

Mexico's ban is set to take effect on Jan. 31, 2024.

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