MEXICO- The Mexican Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development predicts domestic corn production will increase by 2 million tonnes in 2023, reaching a projected total of 28.5 million. 

According to Mexico News Daily, the estimated increase is partially because of a government program giving free fertilizer to corn producers to boost production to meet domestic demand. 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development holds that white corn, often used to make tortillas, is expected to see a production of 24.9 million metric tons, while yellow corn’s output could reach 3.61 million metric tons this year.

Despite this anticipated increase, Mexico’s corn imports are likely to climb to 18 million tonnes in the marketing year 2023-24, up 5% from the previous year, owing to increased demand from the starch and animal feed sectors, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

The increase comes on the heels of presidential decrees banning the use of biotech corn in tortilla and dough production and establishing an export tariff that impacted corn imports.

This ban on biotech corn is the reason for the current dispute between Mexico and its trading partners, the U.S. and Canada.

According to Reuters, Mexico imports about US$5 billion worth of U.S. corn annually, the majority of which is GM yellow corn commonly used for livestock feed.

A government decree, however, calls for a gradual substitution of GM corn and a ban on its use in tortillas or dough.

On June 2, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai requested formal dispute settlement consultations under the  United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)  regarding Mexico’s presidential decree on genetically modified corn.

Moreover, in June, Mexico implemented a 50% tariff on white corn imports to keep genetically modified grain out of the country’s tortillas.

However, if the data from the USDA is anything to go by, the South American country is likely to relax the tariff to meet the demand for corn in the country. 

Regarding the biotech corn dispute, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will meet in Cancun this week for two days to assess the last three years under the USMCA.

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