Transgenic Corn/Lithium Concessions
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Transgenic Corn/Lithium Concessions

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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Wed, 02/15/2023 - 11:00

Transgenic corn. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador highlighted that despite the different positions on transgenic corn imports, there is a good relationship with the US. In addition, López Obrador assured that the US understands the importance of not allowing transgenic corn for human consumption. "So far, they have understood that we have to take this approach. We have sufficient production of white corn for human consumption, so we do not need to import. What we are looking for is not to use or mix transgenic corn," he said.

Mexico and the US have been at loggerheads over an original decree issued by López Obrador in 2020 that sought to phase out imports of genetically modified (GM) corn and glyphosate by January 2024. US officials threatened to take action under USMCA over the potential disruption to corn trade.  This week, the Mexican government removed the deadline for banning GM corn for animal feed and industrial use. However, it still plans to prohibit consumption of GM corn and glyphosate by humans. The new decree forbids the use of GM corn in flour, dough or tortillas but does not apply to the industrial manufacturing of products like cosmetics, textiles and paper.

Electoral reform. López Obrador criticized the counselors of the National Electoral Institute (INE) for opposing his Plan B. In addition, he called on citizens to wait for the Supreme Court to resolve the appeals against the reform. "The Court will decide whether the electoral reform we proposed is constitutional or not. We will wait for the result. They take it as a political banner, but the only thing they want is the return of the corrupt regime," he said.

The electoral reform proposed to change 18 articles and insert seven transitional articles. It sought to replace INE, to eliminate plurinominal deputies and to reduce the number of federal legislators to 300 deputies and 96 senators, while implementing electronic voting, among other alterations. However, the reform failed to reach a qualified majority with 269 votes in favor, 225 against and one abstention. Political opponents highlighted that the reform was rejected for being regressive since it proposed to eliminate the most important democratic institution in the country. However, the president has accused these political parties of rejecting it because they want to maintain a high budget for their political parties. 

Since the reform was rejected, the president announced his Plan B, which proposes an amendment to the electoral law that does not require the approval of two-thirds of Congress. The new proposal to change the electoral laws gained 261 votes in favor and 216 against. The proposal is now being debated in the Senate.

Lithium Concessions. President López Obrador announced that this weekend, he will hand over the concession for the use and exploitation of lithium reserves to the Ministry of Energy. "I am going to sign the decree to deliver all the lithium reserves to the Ministry of Energy."

Previously, López Obrador reported that the government will start granting concessions for lithium exploitation on Feb 19. However, he made it clear that the only company that would be able to compete is LitioMx. According to López Obrador, the most important lithium deposit in Mexico is in Sonora, where the government is already working with the company holding the rights to produce: Gangfeng Lithium, which holds the concession for the Sonora Lithium project in Bacadehuachi. According to Gangfeng’s estimations, the deposit has approximately 8.8 million tonnes of lithium carbonate. Last year in September, Governor of Sonora, Alfonso Durazo, said that Gangfeng was willing to work alongside LitioMx. 

LitioMx is the result of last year´s much-debated reform that nationalized lithium and forbade private companies to extract or harness the mineral.

Photo by:   Gobierno de México

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