Inside the Mexico vs. US Trade War Over Glyphosate and GM Corn
By Ben Bartee - August 23, 2023

Originally published via Armageddon Prose:

On December 31, 2020. Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador issued a national decree to end the use of glyphosate and genetically modified corn by 2024:

With the objective of achieving self-sufficiency and food sovereignty, our country must be oriented towards establishing a sustainable and culturally adequate agricultural production, through the use of agroecological practices and inputs that are safe for human health, the country’s biocultural diversity and the environment, as well as congruent with the agricultural traditions of Mexico…

In recent years, different scientific investigations have warned that said chemical has harmful effects on health, both in humans and in some animal species, and has been identified as a probable carcinogen in humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer…

Various countries have banned the use of the aforementioned substance* in agrochemicals and many others are evaluating the implementation of similar and other measures to protect the population

In such circumstances, our country must maintain an active participation in the search for instruments that allow it to have sustainable agricultural production through the use of inputs that are safe for human and animal health and the environment.”

*Glyphosate is currently banned or limited in at least 25 countries as well as localities within the United States.

Subsequently, the agri-chemical industry (which is multinational but based in the US since the end of WWII) went to work on two of the US federal agencies that it controls — the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the EPA — to turn the screws on Mexico’s government so as to subvert the president’s decree.

Subsequent FOIA requests filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) unearthed emails between officials in these agencies and Bayer AG (the manufacturer) describing the glyphosate/GM corn ban as “a big time problem” (here) and plotting to use the multinational trade deal, United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), to “work through these issues.” (here)

On August 17, the USTR official opened a dispute settlement panel to try to force Mexico to submit to the import of GMO corn (which it terms “biotech corn” – mouth-watering, no?).


United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai* today announced that the United States is establishing a dispute settlement panel under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) regarding certain Mexican measures concerning biotech corn.  The United States is challenging measures set out in Mexico’s February 13, 2023 decree, specifically the ban on use of biotech corn in tortillas or dough, and the instruction to Mexican government agencies to gradually substitute—i.e., ban—the use of biotech corn in all products for human consumption and for animal feed.  Mexico’s measures are not based on science and undermine the market access it agreed to provide in the USMCA.”

*At the risk of coming off as a “conspiracy theorist,” what is the over/under on Katherine Tai going straight to Bayer AG’s board as its newest token minority following her departure from “public service”?

In the event Mexico does not submit to Tai’s threats, we can expect shyster lawyers working on behalf of the US federal government and/or Bayer AG (which, let’s be honest, are one and the same) to go to work on the Mexicans.

They’ll charge $1,000/hr to try their best to contort this or that provision of the USMCA so as to overturn the ostensible popular will of Mexicans via their president – the will to not have cancer-causing chemicals sprayed all over their food supply for the benefit of multinational corporations.

One question, among many, is: why should the US government be spending public resources to force a sovereign country to adopt measures that would not benefit average Americans but rather multinational corporations that, it can’t be emphasized enough, don’t give two shits about anyone or anything other than profit and social control.

RFK Jr. –the only 2024 presidential candidate who appears sincere about challenging the corporate state in earnest — calls this phenomenon “corporate capture,” and it’s a cancer on this world.

Ben Bartee, author of Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile, is an independent Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs.

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