López Obrador, Vilsack Meet Before North American Leaders' Summit
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López Obrador, Vilsack Meet Before North American Leaders' Summit

Photo by:   Cytonn Photography - Unsplash
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Eliza Galeana By Eliza Galeana | Junior Journalist & Industry Analyst - Thu, 12/01/2022 - 14:03

On Nov. 28, 2022, President López Obrador held a meeting with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in Mexico City’s National Palace. Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that the meeting of which he was also a part was held in preparation for the North American Leaders' Summit, which will take place in Mexico in January next 2023.

During the meeting, both parties agreed to tackle several issues related to food security. “The president asked us to work on the transgenic food issue, among other topics, together with the US team. He wants us to be ready and to come up with different options and solutions before next year’s summit,” Ebrard said. Additionally, he announced that in the upcoming weeks, his team will visit the US. 

According to Ebrard, the conversation was held cordially despite the tensions between Mexico and the US due to López Obrador’s eyed ban on GMO yellow corn for 2024. Hours before the meeting, the president stated his government would not allow transgenic corn in Mexico “We will continue to produce white corn for human consumption,” he said.

In an interview following the meeting, Ebrard said that priority sectors such as agriculture will be considered for the summit. He stressed the importance of agri-food imports and exports for the Mexican economy and commented that his team is analyzing the key points on the issue to address them. "Therefore, we will work together with the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as with the Ministers of Economy, Environment and the embassy," he added. 

Vilsack released a statement on the US-Mexico bilateral trade relationship and its importance for US farmers, ranchers and producers. “We made it abundantly clear that Mexico’s import ban would cause both massive economic losses for Mexico’s agricultural industries and citizens, as well as place an unjustified burden on US farmers…The decree would also have a significant impact on the US-Mexico trade relationship, which hit a record value of more than US$63 billion in two-way trade in 2021 and is expected to be even higher in 2022,” the statement reads.

Vilsack pointed out that, if necessary, the US government would be forced to consider all options, including taking formal steps to enforce their legal rights under the USMCA. “We expect to have a proposal from the President’s team soon and we will evaluate it closely. While we do not have a solution on hand, we will continue to engage with Mexico on this important issue,” he concluded.

Photo by:   Cytonn Photography - Unsplash

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