NewsDoes Monsanto enforce its law? US escalates dispute with Mexico over...

    Does Monsanto enforce its law? US escalates dispute with Mexico over GM corn

    In Mexico, the eradication of highly dangerous pesticides such as glyphosate and genetically modified corn seeds has become an uphill battle for the government.

    After the first decree of President Lopez Obrador to achieve this objective, issued at the end of 2020, ruling party legislators presented several reforms that sought to strengthen the measure. So far, however, all remain in the ‘freezer’.

    The proposals of Senator Ana Lilia Rivera, while seeking to establish in secondary regulations the need to gradually and progressively eliminate the use of highly dangerous pesticides and transgenic corn, sought to provide alternative agroecological products with a legal framework .

    It proved impossible, however, not only to reach an agreement with the opposition legislators, but even to build a consensus within the Movimiento Regeneracion Nacional (Morena) party itself.

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    Several legislators from this political organization called on their fellow bench members to work on a reform with “greater responsibility.”

    According to this perspective, it was necessary to promote changes to secondary laws that would not “generate distortions in the market”, that is, there was resistance to accompany the president’s strategy from Congress.

    As for the private sector, the pressures on the Mexican government have come from both the National Agricultural Council and the agro-industrial corporations based in the United States.

    As for the private sector, the pressures on the Mexican government have come from both the National Agricultural Council and the agro-industrial corporations based in the United States.

    From the beginning, the US trade representative has insisted that any action aimed at reducing the use of glyphosate, as well as genetically modified corn seeds, violates the principles that govern the T-MEC. And the pressures do not cease, but are increasing.

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    Although agribusiness has managed to stop the approval of reforms to secondary laws, everything seems to indicate that its main objective is tear down Lopez Obrador’s decree at the end of 2020, for that there is not a single restriction on glyphosate and genetically modified corn.

    Hence, a few weeks ago, the head of agricultural trade for the US Administration, Doug McKalip, asked the Mexican government to explain in detail the scientific arguments behind its decision-making.

    The difficult task of reconciling

    To ‘calm the waters’, Lopez Obrador issued a second decree, on February 13, just one day before the deadline that the government of his northern neighbor had set to receive an explanation.

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    True to his style, the Tabasco politician tried to ease tensions with Washington, granting some concessions, but without neglecting the modular part of his strategy.

    In this second decree it is specified that it is not a measure aimed at limiting purchases from abroad suddenly, but rather promote the use of alternative agrochemicalsas well as non-transgenic corn seeds for human consumption.

    Yellow (transgenic) corn, detailed in the document, would continue to be imported without restrictions for livestock feed and industrial use, however, it would no longer be used to make tortillas.

    Obviously, the US Administration was not satisfied with the response and, days later, announced the activation of the formal consultation mechanism on this issue, within the framework of the T-MEC.

    Alyshia Galvez, an anthropologist and researcher specializing in agriculture and health policies based in New York, comments in an interview with RT that the North American Free Trade Agreement (the antecedent of the T-MEC) was actually “never a free trade agreement trade”.

    According to her, it is rather “a treaty made to measure for large corporations,” which have always sought to obtain the greatest benefits by requiring the president in turn to defend their interests against foreign governments.

    “More than a trade pact between governments,” says the specialist, “the T-MEC is a protection tool at the service of transnational companies that, at any time, have the power to accuse Mexico of violating its rules.”

    However, regardless of the trade pact, Galvez believes that the Government of Mexico has the right to apply the agricultural policy it deems most convenient and, at the same time, reject any product that is harmful to health and the environment.

    In this context, he believes that it has been very difficult for the Mexican government to maneuver internally politically for having signed the T-MEC, a trade pact that, instead of benefiting the Latin American nation, has become an obstacle.

    “More than a trade pact between governments, the T-MEC is a protection tool at the service of transnational companies that, at any time, have the power to accuse Mexico of violating its rules,” says Alyshia Galvez, anthropologist and specialized researcher. in agriculture and health policy based in New York.

    “It was sold as a free trade agreement that was going to bring prosperity to the North American region and reduce inequalities, but in the case of the agricultural sector, until now it has been used by the US as an instrument neocolonial to impose their interests”, alleges the expert.

    Food sovereignty, incompatible with the T-MEC?

    In an interview with RT, Victor Suarez Carrera, head of the Undersecretary for Food Self-Sufficiency, affirms that the free trade agreement does not represent an impediment for Mexico to recover its food sovereignty.

    The agronomist with a specialty in agricultural economics from the Chapingo Autonomous University argues that, in contrast to previous governments, that of Lopez Obrador has been able to strengthen the Mexican countryside without having to break the trade pact.

    Proof of this, he explains, is that in recent years Mexico has managed to increase its agricultural production, with everything and the USMCA and a world economy in ‘the doldrums’ due to the effect of the covid-19 pandemic.

    Likewise, he comments that the Undersecretariat under his charge carries out training programs for small and medium-sized producers (responsible for more than 85% of the food supply) to promote the use of techniques and inputs that are environmentally sustainable.

    The insistence on using glyphosate and transgenic corn in Mexico is due, according to Suarez Carrera, to the fact that agribusiness is not willing to see its profits reduced. “It’s just a handful of big companies,” he says.

    Business around glyphosate and transgenic corn, he details, go hand in hand. For the cultivation of transgenic corn, most large producers use glyphosate as a herbicide.

    Meanwhile, corporations that market genetically modified corn seeds, such as Bayer-Monsanto, own brands such as Roundup (originally launched by Monsanto, which Bayer bought in mid-2018), dedicated to the production of glyphosate.

    The fight between Mexico and the US for transgenic corn intensifies

    All in all, Suarez Carrera is confident that the US government will back down from its demands given that, in legal terms, it will not be possible for it to bend Mexico into giving up its attempt to apply its own agricultural policy, which respects fundamental human rights such as the right to health.

    No trade agreement can be above the Constitution and the international conventions or treaties that Mexico has signed in the field of human rights (…) they [los altos funcionarios de EE.UU.] they can file complaints, but they are unlikely to win the case,” he concludes.

    If the Government of President Lopez Obrador fails to reach an agreement with its US counterpart during the ‘formal consultations’ stage, the Government of Joe Biden will then be able to start with ‘technical consultations’.

    However, if once reached this point, the parties do not reach an agreement either, Washington could finally come a dispute resolution panelinstance that would end up issuing a ruling on the matter.

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    Source: RT

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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