Like the United States, the Canadian government has requested formal consultations with Mexico over its import restrictions on genetically modified agricultural products under the USMCA free trade agreement.
Ottawa’s request came on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg News, a day after Washington requested formal trade consultations over its objections to Mexico’s plans to limit imports of genetically modified corn and other agricultural biotech products.
“Canada will always work with the United States and Mexico to strengthen our trade relationship and develop a clean and green agriculture sector,” a spokeswoman for Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng said in a statement.
The USMCA “has the ability to conduct technical consultations to better understand how our policies will be implemented under this agreement,” the spokesperson added, without explicitly confirming the report.
Mexico plans to regulate genetically modified corn for human consumption, which US officials say jeopardizes some $5 billion in corn exports to its southern neighbor and could hamper biotech innovation.
However, Canada is not a major corn exporter, and Ottawa is generally concerned that Mexico is imposing arbitrary bans on biotechnology-based agriculture.
He is also concerned about the Mexican government’s lack of respect for the USMCA, according to the report. A spokeswoman for the economy ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.
Mexico says GM seeds can contaminate the country’s old native varieties and questioned their impact on human health.
US officials have criticized Mexico’s plans for saying they are not based on science and warning that any restrictions on GM corn could escalate into an outright trade dispute under a regional treaty.
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