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Analysis- Mexico Could Struggle To Secure Non-GM Corn Imports by 2024, Experts Say

MEXICO CITY, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Mexico could achieve its goal of replacing half its import needs with non-genetically modified corn but would struggle to meet the deadline for a controversial ban and could suffer a bout of fresh inflation for its key staple crop, experts told Reuters.

Mexico, which imports about 17 million tons of mostly genetically modified (GM) corn from the United States, has a presidential decree that would phase out GM corn and the herbicide glyphosate by Jan. 31, 2024. Supporters of the ban say GM seeds can contaminate Mexico's age-old native varieties, and legal battles alleging glyphosate-based herbicides cause cancer have been fought in U.S. courts for years.

After pressure from the U.S. and threats of a dispute under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in November that imports of GM yellow corn for animal feed would still be allowed, pending an annual permit from health regulator COFEPRIS.