Iowa U.S. Senators express opposition to Mexico’s proposed U.S. corn ban

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 3:55 PM CST
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KWQC) - U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are urging the U.S. Trade Representative to intervene in Mexico’s plan to end imports of U.S. genetically modified corn. According to Sen. Ernst’s office, Mexico’s proposed ban would effectively phase-out the import of 90 percent of U.S. corn by January 2024. Currently, Iowa corn growers export 16 million tons to Mexico each year.

In a letter to the trade ambassador, the Senators say any interruption to shipments will severely affect our farmers and Iowa’s economy.

In 2020, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the country would phase-out genetically modified corn. Then, in October, that sentiment was reaffirmed by Mexico’s Deputy Agriculture Minister who said Mexico was on track to cut its imports of U.S. yellow corn in half.

If Mexico follows through on its ban, Ernst says it would cost the U.S. economy $73.89 billion in economic output, and Gross Domestic Product would decrease by $30.55 billion. Mexico produces white corn, but imports yellow corn mainly for livestock feed. Mexico’s president has suggested banning genetically-modified yellow corn and corn treated with the herbicide glyphosate by 2024. Supporters say genetically modified seeds can contaminate Mexico’s native varieties, and point to research showing adverse effects of glyphosate, according to Reuters.

Iowa exports 630 million bushels of corn to Mexico every year and if the decree is enacted, corn growers will feel the impact along with businesses across the state.

You can read the full letter here.