6-Regulation: European Parliament agrees to Cartagena Directive in2nd reading
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------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE: EU Lawmakers Ratify UN Protocol On Trade In GMOs
SOURCE: Associated Press/Dow Jones Newswire, sent by AgBioView, USA
DATE: June 4, 2003
--------------------- archive: www.gene.ch/genet.html --------------------
Dear GENET-news reader,
the EP did not ratify the Cartagena Protocol, but voted in 2nd reading on
a compromise text (between the European Council as representation of the
Member States and the European Commission) on the Cartagena Directive to
implement the Protocol in the EU Member States. Meanwhile, the Protocol
has been ratified by the European Commission and five EU Member States.
EU Lawmakers Ratify UN Protocol On Trade In GMOs
STRASBOURG, France (AP)--The European Union Parliament ratified a three-
year-old U.N. biosafety protocol regulating international trade in
genetically modified food Wednesday. The move opens the way for E.U.
governments to give the U.N. accord, negotiated three years ago in
Montreal, Canada, legal effect throughout the 15-nation bloc later this
month. To date, only Denmark, Austria, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands
have ratified the U.N. agreement. Other nations first wanted the protocol
to have the blessing of the E.U.
E.U. Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom praised the assembly's
decision. She said it "confirms that determination of the E.U. to fully
implement the biosafety protocol." The protocol seeks to protect
biological diversity from the potential risks posed by modern
technologies. It lets countries ban imports of a genetically modified
product if they feel there is not enough scientific evidence the product
is safe and requires exporters to label shipments containing genetically
altered commodities such as corn or cotton.
The U.S., a major producer of biotech crops, did not sign the protocol,
saying it was opposed to labeling. It had also fought import bans. The
U.N. protocol is expected to come into force in the autumn. Fifty nations
have to ratify the agreement which was signed by 103 countries in 2000 in
Montreal, Canada. Only 49 have so far done so.
Jonas Sjoestedt, a Swedish Left member of the E.U. assembly, said the
protocol's endorsement by the European Parliament will help the E.U.
counter critics that Europe does not want to deal with genetically
altered crops. "The new rules make clear that trade in GMO's, which are
products of a recently developed technology and may carry dangers to
human health or the environment, must be based on the precautionary
principle," Sjoestedt said.
That principle lets developing nations balance public health against
economic benefits and lets them ban food containing GMO's from entering
their country. "This legislation should help the E.U. to counter recent
accusations by the U.S administration that the E.U. is to blame for the
African rejection of GM food aid last year," Sjoestedt said.
"By agreeing these strict new rules, the E.U. is helping to empower
importing countries to choose whether they will accept GM imports.
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering
Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
Kleine Wiese 6
D - 38116 Braunschweig