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3-Food: Egypt is open to accept GE wheat from the U.S.

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TITLE:  Egypt Is Open To Accepting Biotech Wheat From the US - Minister
SOURCE: OsterDowJones, USA, by Bill Tomson
DATE:   Feb 6, 2003

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Egypt Is Open To Accepting Biotech Wheat From the US - Minister

If U.S. farmers begin producing biotech wheat, the Egyptian government
will not resist purchasing it so long as it is scientifically proven to
be safe for human consumption, Egyptian Foreign Minister Youssef Boutros
Ghali told OsterDowJones Thursday. Boutros Ghali, who said he is visiting
the U.S. mainly to try to improve U.S.-Egyptian trade relations and
underscore support of the U.S. in its World Trade Organization
negotiations, criticized "other governments" who use consumer fears of
biotechnology as an excuse to erect trade barriers. No genetically
modified wheat is currently grown commercially in the U.S. or anywhere
else, but the Monsanto Co. has already completed its submissions to the
U.S. and Canadian governments for permission to sell Roundup Ready
biotech wheat seeds and said it expects to do the same for Japan soon.
Officials in the U.S. and Canadian government agencies involved have said
they could be ready to render rulings on the submissions in a year or
less. Of the total wheat imported this marketing year by Egypt's
government purchasing agency, the General Authority for Supply
Commodities, 840,000 metric tons was from the U.S., 240,000 from
Australia, and 1.74 million tons from France. The GASC has been the only
Egyptian buyer of U.S. wheat this year according to the U.S. Department
of Agriculture. The agency bought 1.76 million tons of U.S. wheat in the
previous marketing year accounting for 60.5% of its total wheat
purchases. Egypt, the world's second biggest wheat importer after Brazil,
is forecast to import a total of 6.3 million tons of wheat in the 2002-03
marketing year, up from 6.1 million tons in 2001-02, according to the
latest International Grains Council report.