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Lorette Picciano, Rural Coalition

Mily Trevino-Sauceda, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, Inc. 

The following submission was made to the dispute settlement panel in MEX-USA-2023-31-01 under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement USMCA on March 14, 2024. 


1. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), the Rural Coalition and the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas are submitting these written views to assist the dispute settlement panel in MEX-USA-2023-r31-01 under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA,” “CUSMA” or “TMEC”). The United States is challenging measures set out in Mexico’s February 13, 2023 Decree, DECRETO por el que se establecen diversas acciones en materia de glifosato y maíz genéticamente modificado,1 specifically the ban on use of GE corn (maize) in tortillas or dough (nixtamalization), and the instruction to Mexican government agencies to gradually substitute non-GE corn for GE corn in all products for human consumption and for animal feed.2

2. We believe Mexico’s measures are consistent with its obligations under USMCA, including to the extent applicable, Chapter 9, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, the risk assessment provisions therein and relevant international standards. The deficiencies of the U.S. complaint have been thoroughly addressed by Mexico and in third party submissions. We instead address issues of first impression concerning the derivation, text and application of USMCA General Exception Article 32.5 for measures necessary to fulfill Indigenous legal rights. 

3. Mexico’s laws guarantee the right to food security, healthy food and a clean environment for all, and protection of human rights including Indigenous religions, culture, traditions, agrarian land practices, traditional knowledge and access to biologically diverse natural resources. The measures enacted by Mexico in the February 13, 2023 Decree, which are necessary to fulfill the legal rights of Indigenous peoples, meet the requirements of the Article 32.5 General Exception and are not a means of “arbitrary or unjustified discrimination” against other Parties nor a “disguised restriction on trade.” In fact, the current decree meets the USMCA criterion of using the least trade-distorting measure available to achieve a policy objective. 

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