THE CONTROVERSY WITH TRANSGENIC CORN CONTINUES
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s controversial ban on transgenic corn has Mexico and the United States on the brink of confrontation. The measure, approved at the end of 2020, can cause great economic losses for both countries, and is viewed with suspicion by farmers on both sides of the border.
The decree against transgenic corn, that is, genetically modified, is intended to supposedly protect the population against agrochemicals, as well as preserve native corn. While environmental organizations have congratulated the measure, it could have big repercussions not only for the increase in production costs, but also for relations between the United States and Mexico.
Although Mexico grows its own white corn (destined for human consumption), the Aztec country is the main importer of US corn, especially yellow corn destined for animal fodder to cover at least three quarters. In 2021, it bought 16.8 million tons from the US. However, if the measure only includes corn for human consumption, what is the controversy?
THE UNITED STATES COULD TAKE ACTION AGAINST MEXICO
The problem is that the legislation is vague, and it is not clear whether or not it will affect imports from the United States. President López Obrador held a meeting with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and is expected to send a proposal to clarify the matter.
However, the secretary assured that if an agreement is not reached, the US could explore going to trade consultations under the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (TMEC), since it perceives a violation of the treaty. Among the consequences that this could bring is the imposition of tariffs on Mexican exports, in the event of ruling against it.
Although Mexico is willing to soften the measure, environmental organizations ask the government not to give in to pressure from the White House. For their part, in the United States they assure that this prohibition does not comply with the requirement that health regulations be made under relevant scientific principles.
ARE GMO FOODS DANGEROUS OR NOT?
Generally speaking, there is no convincing scientific evidence that GM foods are harmful to human health. The vast majority of scientific studies suggest that genetically modified foods are safe, and organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) do not oppose them.
However, some people have concerns about the potential long-term effects of consuming GM foods, especially in terms of allergies and antibiotic resistance xxx gratuit. In addition, some groups argue that GM crops can have negative effects on the environment and biodiversity, such as increased resistance to pesticides, cross-pollination between species, or negatively impact soil quality.
According to the National Agricultural Council of Mexico, the use of transgenic corn has not registered any negative effect. For now, the economic consequences of a ban are more certain.
Among them is an increase in the price of non-transgenic corn by almost 50%, according to a study by the consultancy World Perspectives. Likewise, the production of meat and chicken would also be affected by the increase in the cost of fodder, which would lead to more inflation in Mexico.
For its part, the United States could lose up to 3,560 million in the first year alone, while it would affect thousands of jobs and the economy of the grain-producing states, especially Iowa. Even so, associations such as Greenpeace consider that this could encourage the creation of a market for non-transgenic corn.
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