SCJN Postpones Discussion on US Potato Import – El Financiero

At the last minute, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) postponed a debate on two pending appeals banning the import of potatoes from the United States.

In a plenary session held on Wednesday, it was announced, following the instructions of Minister Alfredo Gutierrez Ortiz Mina, the spokesperson in the case, that the file had been removed from the list of issues to be discussed on Wednesday.

These are the appeals under review 108/2019 and 109/2019, promoted by several national potato producers, grouped in the Specialized Agricultural Division of Potato Producers, attached to the Río Fuerte Producers Association and others.

The complainants resorted to the issuance of regulations of the Federal Law on Plant Health, which were published in the Official Journal of the Federation on July 15, 2016.

And also against the issuance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (Sagarpa) agreement under which measures to mitigate the risks of importing potato tubers to Mexico, published in the Official Gazette of the Union on July 18, 2016.

This ambaro was dealt with in federal court located in Los Mochis, Sinaloa.

In both cases, the judge granted the right of judicial protection and declared Articles 54, 55, Section A, and Sections XX-31, and IX unconstitutional in transient regulations of the Federal Plant Health Law.

The judge ordered the general application of this measure, that is, it cannot be applied to any individual or legal entity, on the grounds that the said agreement was in favor of American producers.

The Sinaloa 7th Circuit judge confirmed that the said agreement violates the right to food, sovereignty and national security. In addition, it puts the country at risk of being dependent on food.

“This (decision) is to protect a public interest in attention to the social impact of phytosanitary issues in relation to the basic strategic products of the food of the Mexican people, hence the effects of the legal rule that was identified as unconstitutional in a general way in everyone trying to import potatoes. For the Mexican Republic …

The judge said in his ruling: “The constitutional protection has been extended in order to preserve our food and vegetable sovereignty in the Mexican fields, because otherwise, it will be impossible to restore the complaining community’s enjoyment of violated human rights.”

However, Minister Ortiz Mina, in his draft sentence, proposed to demolish the aforementioned constitutional rights and deny the complainants the protection of federal justice.

In other words, the minister has already spoken of his support for the reform that President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government has promoted to the Federal Plant Health Act regulations thus opening the borders to potato imports from the United States, mainly.

“This department concludes that the contested rules were issued to establish procedures for the specialized authorities to determine the outcome of the operations of Article 131 of the Constitution, taking into account the factors related to the constitution in a reasonable manner, and therefore their validity must be recognized.” Minister Ortiz Mina said.

He estimated that attribution of risks to a common consideration of dynamic factors such as plant health and foreign trade is an assessment of the marginal account that corresponds to those authorities best for making these decisions.

“This means that the administrative authority, which, by virtue of its powers and technical knowledge, has a clear position in the institutional advantage of decision-making,” he said.

He also indicated that, contrary to what the complainants had indicated, imported potatoes would be subject to multiple phytosanitary measures to prevent the entry of pests into the country.

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