Mexico has decided to implement a 50% tariff on white corn imports in an effort to keep genetically modified grain out of the country's tortillas after a six-month waiver on duties, reports Reuters.
In January, the Mexican government announced a temporary 50% tax on white corn exports, saying it was necessary for the grain to remain in the country to guarantee supply and price stability.
On June 23, however, the government said that waiving the white corn import tariff "had not had a significant impact" on price changes, given Mexico is self sufficient in the grain.
The 50% import tariff will be in place until December 31.
Mexico produced almost 23 million tonnes of white corn last year and imported just 614,000 tonnes between January and October of 2022, data from the Agriculture ministry shows. Only a small part is exported.
According to the report, the decision to reinstall import tariffs on the grain follows a pledge by Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to phase out genetically modified (GMO)/biotech corn and the herbicide glyphosate by 2024.
On June 2, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai requested formal dispute settlement consultations under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) regarding the presidential decree on biotech corn.
The USTR said these consultations regard measures set out in Mexico’s February 13, 2023 decree, specifically the ban on use of biotechnology corn in tortillas or dough, and the instruction to Mexican government agencies to gradually substitute — i.e., ban — the use of biotechnology corn in all products for human consumption and for animal feed.