This case represents the first time that the sanitary phytosanitary provisions of USMCA have been exercised.
What US Trade Representative’s Office Chief Agricultural Negotiator Doug McKalip is referring to is our nation’s recent request for a dispute settlement panel within the framework of the US Mexico Canada Agreement to settle concerns with Mexican bans of biotech food products, such as genetically modified corn from the US.
Unfortunately they have put in place presidential decrees that have singled out biotechnology and really set up a situation that threatens to disrupt trade between our countries and could potentially harm us farmers and quite frankly, stifle innovation at a time when we all need to be seeking solutions. to climate change and productivity challenges.
Previous consultations between the two nations over the issue failed to produce a solution leading to the dispute settlement panel request. So what happens next? Ambassador McKalip says while the case itself is unique within USMCA, the formal process mirrors other efforts by the US to resolve trade issues with member nations within the agreement.
The process would include actually establishing the panel members or the judges in this case once the panel is established. There will be a period where the participants are able to argue and bring their case and evidence to the USMCA panel. We would anticipate this entire process to wrap up in early 2024, certainly by mid-2024.
The ambassador also points out…
…we were also pleased that Canada has decided to join this case as well along with the United States.
As for the broader look at US ag trade within the context of the USMCA Dispute Settlement panel with Mexico and efforts to expand our nation’s farm and food exports…
…We need to hold trading partners accountable. And so this case in Mexico represents an area where we want to make sure that countries are holding to the agreements that they have already signed with us.