International Trade Minister Mary Ng, right, looks on as U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai speaks during a joint news conference in Ottawa, Thursday, May 5, 2022. Canada is siding with the U.S. in an ongoing trade dispute over Mexico's restrictions on importing products made with genetically modified corn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canada to join U.S. trade fight with Mexico over genetically modified corn products

Canada is siding with the United States in a burgeoning trade dispute over Mexico’s restrictions on products made with genetically modified corn.

Trade Minister Mary Ng and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay say Canada will take part in dispute resolution proceedings as a third party.

Mexico imposed a ban in February on importing tortillas or dough made with biotech corn — a move its trading partners say is contrary to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

A dispute settlement panel under the terms of the deal, known in Canada as CUSMA, was announced last week by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

Tai and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack say the ban is not based on science and ignores clear evidence that genetically modified corn is safe.

The U.S., where biotech varieties of corn and soy have been produced for decades, exports some 17 million tonnes of corn to Mexico each year.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says he fears contaminating native varieties of corn in his country, and has also expressed concern about the effect of GMO corn on public health.

“Canada shares the concerns of the United States that Mexico is not compliant with the science and risk analysis obligations under CUSMA,” Ng and MacAulay say in a statement.

“Canada believes that these measures are not scientifically supported and have the potential to unnecessarily disrupt trade in the North American market.”