GENET archive


7-Business: US grain group says Japan GMO tests could hirt corn trade

----------------------------- GENET-news -----------------------------

TITLE:  US grain group says Japan GMO tests could hirt corn trade
SOURCE: Dow Jones/Reuters, edited and sent by Agnet, Canada
DATE:   March 6, 2000

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US grain group says Japan GMO tests could hirt corn trade

WASHINGTON -- Ken Hobbie, president and chief executive officer of 
the U.S. Grains Council, was cited as saying today that Japan's 
proposal to require mandatory testing of all corn imports for 
genetically modified varieties could hurt U.S. exports to the 
country, adding that although nearly all biotech and conventional 
varieties of corn grown in the U.S. are approved for import by Japan, 
the country's particular proposal to keep track of such varieties for 
certification purposes "defeats the purpose of existing agricultural 
biotechnology approval systems in Japan, which mirror the U.S. 
approval systems."

Hobbie was further cited as saying that Japan's proposal contains 
several "disturbing" elements, including a "zero tolerance law" 
whereby if a specified corn variety is detected in a shipment in any 
amount, the entire grain shipment would be rejected.

The stories note that the proposal covers corn and corn product 
shipments and would impose criminal penalties for customers in 
violation of the rules. Hobbie was quoted as saying, "We're very 
concerned that there is a high incidence of false positives possible 
in these tests, which means a very real risk that shipments of U.S. 
grain would be rejected on this basis. ... Obviously, putting a 
biotechnology testing system in place on this scale will be extremely 
expensive, and with the available technology, it seems like a folly."

He noted that no uniform test applicable to all the different 
transgenic corn varieties on the market has been validated by any 
governmental or independent standard-setting body.

Japan is the largest importer of U.S. farm products. The U.S. 
Agriculture Department has estimated that Japanese buyers will 
purchase $9 billion of U.S. farm goods in fiscal 2000, which ends 
September 30, unchanged from the previous year.


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