Mexico announces 50% tariff on white corn imports

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The Mexican government has decided to implement a 50% tariff on white corn imports, pursuing more protectionist measures and trying to keep genetically modified grain out of the country’s tortillas after a six-month waiver on duties.

In a bid to ease inflationary pressures, Mexican authorities began removing import duties on 21 basic goods last year, before adding white corn to the list in January and implementing a 50% export tariff on the grain – a staple in the Mexican diet.

However the government late on Friday said that waiving the white corn import tariff “had not had a significant impact” on price changes, given Mexico is self sufficient in the grain.

Mexico produced almost 23 million tonnes of white corn last year and imported just 614,000 tonnes between January and October of 2022, data from the Agriculture ministry shows. Only a small part is exported.

The decision to reinstall import tariffs on the grain follows a pledge by Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to ban genetically modified (GMO) corn and phase out the herbicide glyphosate by 2024.

The United States and Canada say this is a violation of trade law.

Last week, the president hinted at the move to reinstate tariffs on the grain as part of a decree to insure “only white and non-transgenic corn is used in tortilla shops.”

The 50% import tariff will be in place until Dec. 31, the decree said.

The waiver on other import duties remains in place, while overall inflation begins to cool. (Reporting by Isabel Woodford; Editing by David Gregorio)

Source: Microsoft Start