Since the Mexican government published its much-awaited presidential decree on New Year's Eve to restrict the use of the herbicide glyphosate and genetically modified corn, IATP has actively worked to defend the government against threats from U.S. agribusiness using the revised North American Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
I covered the decree and the looming threats in a February article. Now agribusiness interests have filed for an injunction in Mexican courts to stop the government phaseout of glyphosate.
On April 16, IATP joined the National Family Farm Coalition and the Rural Coalition on a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack calling for respect for Mexico's right to regulate in the public interest.
"We read with concern the March 22, 2021 letter to you from food and agricultural trade associations raising objections to health, consumer and farmer protections and agricultural policies of the government of Mexico and seeking your intervention," states the letter. "We urge both USTR and USDA to respect Mexico’s domestic policy choices and refrain from any action to interfere with policies that support healthy food and diets and that advance sustainable and environmentally sound agroecological practices. Mexico is well within its rights to adopt these provisions, as the U.S. would be if it implemented similar policies."
The pressure by agribusiness interests continues. Bayer/Monsanto and Mexico's National Agribusiness Council (CNA) filed for an injunction in Mexico courts to stop the glyphosate regulations. The coalition Sin Maiz No Hay Pais (Without Corn There is No Country) is collecting signatures on a petition opposing the injunction. Please sign on.
IATP will continue to work with its Mexican partners to ensure the U.S. government does not invoke trade agreements to undermine Mexico's right to legislate and regulate in the public interest. As Mexico's Undersecretary of Agriculture Victor Suarez told us, "We are a sovereign nation with a democratic government, which came to power with the support of the majority of citizens, one that places compliance with our constitution and respect for human rights above all private interests.”
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The flurry of correspondence directed at USTR and USDA follows arguments made by IATP program staff in the press:
Executive Director Sophia Murphy, also writing for The Hill, questioned arguments that the WTO and USMCA were appropriate places for the Biden administration to question Mexico's actions. "It is hardly surprising that the Mexican government wants to revitalize rural areas devastated by the dumping of U.S. corn at prices below production costs," she wrote. "Perhaps the U.S. government will learn from the example."