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News > U.S.

US and Bayer Pressured Mexico To Change Its Pesticide Policy

  • Corn producer in Texcoco, Mexico, June 12, 2020

    Corn producer in Texcoco, Mexico, June 12, 2020 | Photo: Twitter/ @KropffMartin

Published 17 February 2021

They were seeking changes in a decree that proposes the gradual replacement of "Round UP", a glyphosate-based herbicide that is harmful to health.

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) offered evidence of how U.S. officials and transnational pharmaceutical Bayer representatives pressured Mexico to change its policy regarding glyphosate.


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On Dec. 31, 2020, Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) issued a decree establishing the gradual replacement of glyphosate with safer alternatives for the environment and human health.

This order aroused Bayer's anxiety since it is the largest exporter of glyphosate to Mexico. Company representatives began lobbying the U.S. Embassy to force changes in the herbicide substitution decree.

The CBD showed how former U.S. Trade Representative to Mexico Robert Lighthizer informed Mexico's Economy Secretary Graciela Marquez that glyphosate import limitations violated the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USCAMA).

The "warning" was issued after Mexico denied an import license for 1,000 tons of the herbicide, which the U.S. official considered "a risk for the good performance of bilateral trade".

The then Environment Secretary Victor Toledo denounced how the U.S. and 20 other countries pushed for the measure to be repealed.

Mexico uses herbicides on 60.6 percent of its cropland, and glyphosate is the most used. This agrochemical can cause dizziness, skin irritation, and even cancer, according to Greenpeace Mexico.

Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018, is the world's leading producer of glyphosate, a product that is marketed under the name "Roundup."

AMLO's policy on this issue has remained unchanged so far, despite continued international pressure.

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