On July 1, 2020, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – which was signed into law nearly two years earlier – entered into force, formally replacing the North American Free Trade American (NAFTA). True to its original intent, this law reduced trade barriers for our farmers, opened new markets for American agricultural exports, and established a revitalized framework for free and fair trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. To date, Mexico and Canada remain our nation’s top trading partners, supporting billions in exports and sustaining hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Regrettably, Mexico has failed to honor its legally binding commitments in the USMCA. In 2020, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador proposed a total ban on biotech corn by 2025, leveling unfounded accusations about the safety of genetically modified food. As the top corn-producing state and the second largest ag-exporting state in the nation, this reckless decision, if enacted, would have serious ramifications for Iowa’s corn industry – 90% of which is genetically modified – global food security, and the international economy. Mexico also accounts for 25% of American corn exports, which would stifle agricultural trade and devastate Iowa’s corn growers who produced 2.5 billion bushels of corn in 2021 alone. Additionally, some reports indicate that this decree would eliminate over 30,000 American jobs and slash as much as $30 billion from the American economy.
For decades, genetically modified food has been scientifically proven, repeatedly, to be safe for human and animal consumption. Due to groundbreaking research, biotech crops require less water, support increased yields, and better resist the scourge of drought and disease. These are welcome advancements for agriculture. Biotech corn is safe and should be treated as such.
As the mightiest economic superpower in the world, we cannot lead from behind. We must project our leadership and resolve on the global stage. If we fail to come to a swift resolution, our inaction with Mexico will undoubtedly embolden other nations – especially our adversaries – to flaunt our trade rules and severely damage our agricultural economy. I will not let that happen.
Serving on both the House Agriculture Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, I will continue to use my positions and my voice to hold Mexico’s feet to the fire and overturn this catastrophic ban. Iowa corn growers – and our agricultural community at large – rely on consistent, fair, and transparent trade laws to prepare for the next harvest and make an honest living. The USMCA provides that crucial framework and Mexico must uphold their promises to American agriculture and our corn growers.
We are government together, and your thoughts and opinions matter to me. Please contact my office at Feenstra.House.Gov or by phone at 202-225-4426 if I can ever be of assistance. I am proud to represent our families, farmers, main street businesses, and rural communities in Congress.