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6-Regulation: EU implements the Cartagena Protocol



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TITLE:  EU Biotech Cos Fear New Restrictions On GMO Exports
SOURCE: Dow Jones International News, by Matthew Newman
DATE:   May 1, 2003

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Dear GENET-news readers,
the information given below might raise the impression that the European
Parliament is developing totally new ideas on how (future) GE exports
from the EU should be regulated. But actually it does nothing else than
implementing the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety which as a legally
binding international instrument in its Article 10 states that an import
shall not be undertaken unless the importing Party gives its consent or
explicitly disclaim this right. If a developing country decides to allow
the import of a GMO for field trials or food, it can enter the country;
if the country decides not to allow it, it would at least under EU law be
difficult to explain why and how our exporters get a right to force the
import.

Article 10
DECISION PROCEDURE

[...]

2. The Party of import shall, within the period of time referred to in
Article 9, inform the notifier, in writing, whether the intentional
transboundary movement may proceed:
(a) Only after the Party of import has given its written consent; or
(b) After no less than ninety days without a subsequent written consent.

3. Within two hundred and seventy days of the date of receipt of
notification, the Party of import shall communicate, in writing, to the
notifier and to the Biosafety Clearing-House the decision referred to in
paragraph 2 (a) above:
(a) Approving the import, with or without conditions, including how the
decision will apply to subsequent imports of the same living modified
organism;
(b) Prohibiting the import;
(c) Requesting additional relevant information in accordance with its
domestic regulatory framework or Annex I; in calculating the time within
which the Party of import is to respond, the number of days it has to
wait for additional relevant information shall not be taken into account; or
(d) Informing the notifier that the period specified in this paragraph is
extended by a defined period of time.

[...]

5. A failure by the Party of import to communicate its decision within
two hundred and seventy days of the date of receipt of the notification
shall not imply its consent to an intentional transboundary movement.

[...]

*****


EU Biotech Cos Fear New Restrictions On GMO Exports

BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)--Europe's struggling biotech industry was dealt
another blow Wednesday when a European Parliament committee voted to
tighten restrictions on trade in genetically modified organisms.

Under the revised rules, no GMOs can be exported from Europe without the
"formal" consent of importing countries. That can raise barriers to
exports as developing countries increasingly balk at new technologies.

The full parliament will vote on the measure in June.

The parliamentary debate highlights problems facing Europe's biotech
industry and the deep trans-Atlantic divide over biotech.

The top U.S. trade official, Robert Zoellick, has called the European
approach "immoral" and "Luddite," and he has threatened to file a suit at
the World Trade Organization. He was particularly incensed when famine-
stricken Zambia refused U.S. food aid, out what he believed was fear he
believed of European retaliation for accepting genetically modified corn.

Parliamentarians sponsoring the European bill said the U.S. has the
immoral position and also called it imperialistic. They want to make sure
that European countries respect importing countries' bans on GMOS.

"The attempt by the U.S. to exploit temporary food shortages in Africa to
force developing countries to accept GM foods demonstrates how urgently
we need such regulation," said Swedish green Parliament member Jonas
Sjoestedt. "In the guise of humanitarian aid, the U.S. was, in reality,
simply trying to dump surplus GM food that nobody wants to buy."

U.S. biotech company Monsanto Co. said that charge is ludicrous.

"The U.S. in no way manipulated the situation in Africa to export GMO
products," said Monsanto spokesman Thomas McDermott. "It was food aid and
brought safe food, consumed by millions of Americans, to people in Africa."

Europe's biotech industry is already facing strong consumer backlash
against modified, with some supermarkets refusing to carry products
containing GMOs. European governments have refused for the past four
years to approve new biotech products.

If the European parliament gets its way, biotech promoters fear
innovation and research will be further hampered in Europe, said Simon
Barber, director of the Plant Biotechnology Unit at Europabio, the
European association of biotech industries.

"Research is already down and the new requirements could only make things
worse," Barber said, adding that European researchers may no longer be
able to export GMOs for field research, discouraging scientists from
doing basic research.