As Mexico plans to ban the sale of genetically-modified (GMO) corn from the United States by 2024, the country on Monday threatened potential legal action against the Latin American country if the import ban is implemented.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday regarding a presidential decree issued by López Obrador in 2020 that phases out the import of GMO corn for human consumption, according to the BBC.

López Obrador has stated that the decree was made due to a lack of research behind the effects of GMO corn on organic and indigenous strains of corn in Mexico, with supporters of it claiming that the GMO seeds of the corn may contaminate the native corn of the country, Reuters reported.

Vilsack, however, has pointed out the negative effect that it will have on U.S. farmers, as well as the economic effects that it would have on both Mexico and the U.S. Vilsack has stated that they may pursue legal action if the import ban is implemented, stating that it violates the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade pact, a free trade agreement between the three countries.

“I emphasized in no uncertain terms that - absent acceptable resolution of the issue - the U.S. Government would be forced to consider all options, including taking formal steps to enforce our legal rights under the USMCA,” he said.

Mexico is second only to China in being the largest importer of corn in the world, which has mainly been used in the country to feed livestock and to produce sauces. López Obrador has said that the import of GMO corn will still be allowed for animal livestock; despite this, the import ban will reportedly effectively halve Mexico’s imports of the product.

The Mexican President has said that they will seek a deal with the U.S. related to its corn imports ban.

Mexico GMO Corn Import Ban Rep. Pic
The United States has threatened legal action against Mexico on Monday if the country continues with its plan to ban imports of genetically-modified corn for human consumption. This is a representational image. Wouter Supardi Salari/Unsplash.

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