Seed World

USMCA Takes Force, Bringing Certainty, Key Reforms for Seed Trade

Today, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) officially enters into force, modernizing Intellectual Property (IP), phytosanitary and biotechnology policies for trade between the U.S. and the two countries that represent its largest export markets for seed.

“Today is a big day for the U.S. seed industry, as this critical agreement brings much-needed certainty and key reforms to further strengthen trade between the U.S. and its neighbors to the North and South,” says American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) President & CEO Andrew LaVigne. “Last year, U.S. seed exports to Mexico and Canada combined for a total of $570 million. Continued trade, guided by clear, science-based policies, is absolutely essential for the livelihood of American farmers and the U.S. economy at large.”

USCMA makes key reforms in the areas of IP, phytosanitary measures and biotechnology policy. The agreement requires Mexico to ascend to the UPOV 91 Convention, which has already been adopted by Canada and the U.S. It specifically addresses agriculture biotechnology, including the establishment of a new working group to enhance information exchange and cooperation on trade policies, including around newer breeding methods like gene editing. The agreement emphasizes the need for transparency and science-based approaches to phytosanitary measures and establishes a new consultation process to resolve disputes between countries in order to keep trade moving and reduce non-tariff barriers. This includes an important provision requiring the three countries to provide notification of SPS import issues or delays within five days.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Administration in moving this agreement forward to completion,” says LaVigne. “As USMCA enters the implementation phase, we’ll be watching these new policies unfold and working closely with our government partners.”

Source: ASTA