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TITLE:  US "very concerned" over EU stance on GMOs
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   July 15, 2002

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


US "very concerned" over EU stance on GMOs

BRUSSELS - A senior U.S. official said last week that Washington regarded a 
recent European parliament vote on tough labelling rules for genetically 
modified products as a step in the wrong direction. The United States has 
long been pushing for the European Union to admit genetically-modified 
agricultural goods onto the European market. The European parliament's 
tough new labelling laws come on top of a current EU moratorium on 
authorising the sale or cultivation of GM crops.

"I am very concerned about the state of play on trade in agricultural bio-
technology products," said Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business 
and Agricultural Affairs Alan Larson, adding that the EU moratorium had 
already blocked $200 to $300 million trade in corn. "Frankly the results 
that have come of the European Parliament have made the matter worse rather 
than better and I think have very serious potential to disrupt trade that 
hasn't been disrupted so far," he told reporters.

The United States has branded as unworkable the new EU labelling rules, 
which have only been passed so far in a first reading and will eventually 
need the approval of EU governments. As well as requiring the labelling of 
GM products, the bill also allows the foods to be traced through the food 
chain. Larson said a new U.S. farm bill, criticised in the EU for promising 
billions of dollars in new subsidies for the agriculture sector, had not 
undermined U.S. credibility in global trade liberalisation talks. He said 
the United States still paid a third less subsidies than the EU, which on 
Wednesday announced an overhaul of its agriculture policy.



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