Mexico vows not to budge on US corn dispute

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. back down / bæk daʊn / (phrasal v.) – to stop arguing about something or admit that one has lost a fight

    The protesters said they will not back down until the government listens to them.

  2. consultation / ˌkɒn səlˈteɪ ʃən / (n.) – a meeting in which people or groups who are affected or involved can discuss something that’s being decided

    A known environmental organization will have a consultation with the mining company operating in the city.

  3. showdown / ˈʃoʊˌdaʊn / (n.) – an important meeting, argument, or fight that aims to end a long-time disagreement between people or groups

    The company is in a showdown with the workers who were laid off.

  4. treaty / ˈtri ti / (n.) – a formal agreement between two or more countries or groups

    Some countries have a treaty to help each other during crises.

  5. stance / stæns / (n.) – one’s opinion on something, usually expressed publicly

    The writer spoke about her stance on preventing global warming.


Read the text below.

Mexico’s president vowed not to back down in a dispute with the United States over a potential ban on imports of genetically modified corn.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced it had called for consultations with Mexico over proposed rules that would ban GM corn for human consumption. Mexico has said it could eventually ban it for animal feed as well.

Mexico argues that GM corn could somehow harm the health of those who consume animals raised on it, though it has not yet presented any proof of such ill effects.

Mexico had previously appeared eager to avoid a major showdown with the United States on the corn issue. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said consultations continued, but suggested Mexico would still seek to implement some form of ban.

“We still have a month,” López Obrador said of the talks. “If there is no agreement, we’ll go to a panel,” he said, referring to the dispute resolution mechanism under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement, known as the USMCA.

“Because this is a very important issue for us,” the president said, adding “it is the health of our people.”

“No treaty in the world allows people to sell merchandise that damages health,” he said.

The U.S. trade representative’s office said the ban could “threaten to disrupt billions of dollars in agricultural trade.”

Mexico is the leading importer of U.S. corn, most of which is genetically modified. Almost all is fed to cattle, pigs and chickens in Mexico, which doesn’t grow enough feed corn to supply itself.

Mexico had previously softened its stance, but refused to completely drop talk of any ban.

In February, Mexico’s Economy Department issued new rules that dropped the date for substituting imports of GM feed corn. Some imported corn is also ground into meal for use in corn chips or other snacks.

Under a previous version of the rules, some U.S. growers worried a GM feed corn ban could happen as soon as 2024 or 2025.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Mexico hasn’t presented any proof of the bad effects of GM corn on health. Do you think it’s necessary to show evidence that would support this claim before they fully implement the ban? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What food item will cause a big problem if its importation were banned in your country (ex. rice, pork)? Why? Discuss?

Discussion B

  • Do you think the people of Mexico will support the government’s decision to ban the import of GM corn? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What should be considered when importing goods from other countries (ex. quality, price)? Why? Discuss.