GENET archive


6-Regulation: European politicians react differently on WTOchallenge

genet-news mailing list

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

TITLE:  German Minister Calls on EU To Drop Biotech Product Ban
SOURCE: The Bureau of National Affairs, International Environment Daily, USA
        by Christopher S. Rugaber
DATE:   May 21, 2003

------------------ archive: ------------------

German Minister Calls on EU To Drop Biotech Product Ban

The European Union should end its moratorium on approving new genetically
modified products in order to reduce trans-Atlantic trade tensions, a
German official said May 20. Speaking at the German- American Executive
Summit, a business conference co-hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
Germany's Minister of Economic Affairs and Labor Wolfgang Clement also
said that the United States should comply with several adverse World
Trade Organization rulings, including the 2002 decision striking down
U.S. export tax rules.

The United States and Europe "bear a special responsibility" to promote
world trade and ensure that the current Doha Round of WTO trade talks are
successful, Clement said.

"An effective reduction in the number of trans-Atlantic conflicts would
make this task easier for both sides, and would herald a new phase of
constructive relations," he said.

"I am therefore arguing vigorously for Europe to end its de facto
moratorium on genetically modified products," he added.

The United States instituted WTO dispute settlement proceedings May 13
against the EU's ban, which began in 1998 and has cost U.S. corn
exporters approximately $300 million per year.

Germany, however, is not among the seven member states that have led
opposition in the EU towards genetically modified (GM) products. Those
countries are: France, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Greece, Belgium, and

Germany Will Push on CAP Reform

Regarding the current round of WTO talks, which appears stalled as
several interim deadlines have been missed, Clement said that Germany
will push the EU to move forward on reforms of its Common Agricultural
Policy (CAP). Many observers, including U.S. Trade Representative Robert
B. Zoellick, have said that CAP reform is necessary for EU trade
negotiators to have sufficient flexibility to make progress in WTO
agriculture trade talks. Zoellick, who spoke at the summit after Clement,
said that the WTO farm trade talks were "stuck."

Clement also said that he would work "to make sure that the EU makes a
clear move towards the position of our negotiating partners, particularly
on export subsidies and production-related aid." The United States has
urged that agriculture export subsidies be eliminated during the Doha
Round. The EU is one of the largest users of such subsidies.

Zoellick Lukewarm Towards Goods Text

Meanwhile, in his remarks at the German-American Executive Summit and in
subsequent comments to reporters, Zoellick offered lukewarm praise for a
May 16 draft paper introduced at the WTO on a framework for manufactured
goods trade negotiations. Zoellick said that the proposed framework, or
modalities, for the talks "basically follows" the structure that he and
the EU's Trade Commissioner, Pascal Lamy, set out in late April at a
meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Yet while he was "pleased" with the structure, Zoellick added that the
proposal is "frankly not as ambitious as we would like, but I think it
shows the possibility of movement." He did not elaborate, and later told
reporters that he is still studying the proposal.

The draft, which was introduced by Pierre-Louis Girard, the chair of the
WTO's negotiating group on market access for nonagricultural goods, calls
for sectoral tariff eliminations, as did Lamy and Zoellick, but did not
call for the elimination of all duties on manufactured goods by a date
certain, as the United States has proposed.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  EU aides say Bush biotech crop attack unjustified
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   May 26, 2003

------------------ archive: ------------------

EU aides say Bush biotech crop attack unjustified

WASHINGTON - European Union officials accused President George W. Bush of
misrepresenting the facts when he said European hostility to genetically
modified food was hurting efforts to fight hunger in Africa.

Speaking on the condition they not be identified, the EU officials said
the European Union provides far more development assistance to African
countries than the United States does.

They also rejected the notion that Europe was responsible for other
countries refusing genetically modified crops.

"There's no such thing - no such thing - as an action by the European
authorities or the European countries to force African countries or
developing countries to refuse access to genetically modified crops," an
EU official said.

In speech on Wednesday Bush accused Europe of standing in the way of
biotechnology that could help end hunger in Africa.

"They have blocked all new bio-crops because of unfounded, unscientific
fears. This has caused many African nations to avoid investing in
biotechnologies, for fear their products will be shut out of European
markets," Bush said. "

"European governments should join - not hinder - the great cause of
ending hunger in Africa," he added.

An EU official said Europe was "doing a lot, if not the most," to fight
world hunger. In 2001, the EU and its 15-member states provided $23.1
billion in development aid, compared to the U.S. figure of just $8.3
billion, he said.

They also accused the United States of flooding developing countries with
food aid when commodity prices are low and sharply curtailing that
assistance when prices rise.

Last week, the United States took its complaint over the EU's five-year-
old moratorium on approval of new genetically modified crops to the World
Trade Organization.

While Bush was repeating arguments U.S. Trade Representative Robert
Zoellick and other administration officials have made, EU officials said
they were still surprised by the attack.

"I think the speech did not help to bridge our positions in this case,"
an EU aide said.