The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) requested the Mexican government to delay the implementation of changes to the NOM-187, which aims to prohibit the use of GM corn in products intended for human consumption, such as tortillas. Additionally, the USDA asked Mexico to provide scientific evidence supporting this measure.
The Foreign Agricultural Service, part of USDA, sent the Mexican government the petition to delay the implementation of NOM-187-SSA1/SE-2023 until all trading partners have been duly notified and given a reasonable period of time to review and submit written comments through the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Art. 11 of NOM-187-SSA1/SE-2023 states that the norm does not conform to any existing international standards. In this regard, the USDA pointed out that Art. 9.6.3 of USMCA underscores that, without any international guidelines or recommendations, the relevant party will have to ensure that the sanitary measure in question must be based on a risk assessment. Likewise, the treaty requires discussing any scientific or commercial concerns that any of the parties may have, as well as the availability of less trade-restrictive alternative approaches to achieve an appropriate level of protection to all parties.
USDA requested clarification on Art. 6 of the NOM, which refers to the management of raw material suppliers, food processing and production facilities. “Could Mexico clarify whether this article applies to the establishments where the food is processed, growers of agricultural products or entities outside of Mexico?”, the document reads.
The US government is concerned that the GM corn measure may not be based on scientific facts and that it may threaten to disturb trade between USMCA partner countries. The USDA recalled that Mexico, under USMCA, must provide well-documented and objective scientific evidence related to the prohibition, such as risk assessments, relevant studies and expert opinions that were considered in the development of the proposed measure.