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9-Misc: NGOs publish conclusions of WTO dispute



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Groups publish conclusions of WTO dispute
        IATP, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace: WTO secrecy an outrage
SOURCE: IATP, USA; Friends of the Earth Europe; Greenpeace International
DATE:   08 Feb 2006

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Groups publish conclusions of WTO dispute
IATP, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace: WTO secrecy an outrage

Geneva/Brussels - 8th February 2006 - The Institute for Agriculture and
Trade Policy, Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace have made the
conclusions of the WTO dispute on genetically modified organisms public
[1] in order to allow the whole world to engage in the debate on the
future of our food.

The groups condemned the secrecy of the WTO and called on governments to
ensure that complex health and environmental decisions are taken in a
transparent manner by bodies qualified to do so.

"This verdict only proves that the WTO is unqualified to deal with
complex scientific and environmental issues. They even say so
themselves, claiming that "the panel did not examine ... whether biotech
products in general are safe or not". The US administration and agro-
chemical companies brought the case in a desperate attempt to force-feed
markets with GMOs. But consumers, citizens and farmers around the world
do not want GMOs and this ruling will change none of that," said Daniel
Mittler, Trade Policy Advisor at Greenpeace International.

"The WTO is keeping its draft ruling secret. This sums up everything
that is wrong with the WTO. It is secretive, undemocratic and biased
towards business interests. The WTO should be the last institution to
decide what people eat and grow in the fields," said Alexandra Wandel,
Trade Coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe.

"The WTO dispute panel is set up to view regulations strictly in a
framework designed to facilitate trade, not to realize public or
environmental health objectives," said Steve Suppan, Senior Trade
Associate at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. "The U.S.
government and the biotech companies may claim that the ruling proves
that GE crops are safe for human consumption and the use of GE seeds is
an environmentally beneficial agricultural practice. But the case covers
no such thing: much less does it support the profoundly flawed U.S.
regulation of GE crops." said Steve Suppan, IATP Research Director and
author of a backgrounder on the case.


Notes:
[1] The conclusions and recommendations of the WTO panel report are
available at:
http://www.tradeobservatory.org/library.cfm?refid=78475

Backgrounders are available at:
IATP:
http://www.tradeobservatory.org

FoE:
www.foeeurope.org/publications/2006/GMO_and_WTO_interim_briefing_Feb2006.pdf

Greenpeace:
http://eu.greenpeace.org/downloads/gmo/WTObriefing0602.pdf

For further comment contact:
IATP: Ben Lilliston, IATP, +1 612-870-3416
Greenpeace: Daniel Mittler, +49 171 876 5345
Alexandra Wandel, Friends of the Earth WTO expert, +49 172 748 3953
Adrian Bebb, Friends of the Earth GMO expert, +49 1609 490 1163


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

TITLE:  WTO TRADE WAR ON GMOs: EUROPE MUST FIGHT RULING
        Friends of the Earth calls for a new world trade system
SOURCE: Friends of the Earth Europe
DATE:   08 Feb 2006

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WTO TRADE WAR ON GMOs: EUROPE MUST FIGHT RULING
Friends of the Earth calls for a new world trade system

Brussels/Geneva, 8 February 2006 - Friends of the Earth Europe today
urged the European Union to take the global lead and work for a new
international system that, in contrast to World Trade Organisation
(WTO), prioritises human health and environmental safety over free trade
rules.

The call comes following yesterdays draft ruling by the WTO in Geneva
that Europe's precautionary stance on genetically modified (GM) foods
and crops "violates" trade rules. The WTO believes that national safety
bans on GM products and Europe's de facto moratorium on new GM foods
between 1999 and 2004 were barriers to trade. The ruling on the
transatlantic trade dispute over GM foods was sent to the EU on one
side, and to the United States, Canada and Argentina on the other.

Alexandra Wandel, Friends of the Earth Europe's Trade Co-ordinator in
Brussels, said: "Europe should fight this decision and lead the calls
for a new global trading system that protects people and the environment
from the worst excesses of industry. The WTO undermines democracy and
puts business interests before the welfare of the public. It should not
be allowed to rule on what we eat or what our farmers grow."

Adrian Bebb, GM Food Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said:
"The WTO has bluntly ruled that European safeguards should be sacrificed
to benefit biotech corporations. This will backfire and lead to even
greater opposition to genetically modified food and crops. Consumers
worldwide will not be bullied into eating GM foods."

Wandel noted: "The WTO is keeping its draft ruling secret. This sums up
everything that is wrong with the WTO. It is secretive, undemocratic and
biased towards business interests. The WTO should be the last
institution to decide what people eat and grow in the fields."

In its defence during the WTO dispute the EU Commission had questioned
whether the WTO was the right place to solve such disputes. "There is a
serious question as to whether the WTO is the appropriate international
forum for resolving all the GMO issues that the Complainants have raised
in these case," it said. (1)

Friends of the Earth believes that an alternative dispute settlement
procedure is needed to solve trade and environmental conflicts and that
international environment agreements need to be strengthened. This could
be the International Court of Justice or the Permanent Court of
Arbitration. Additionally, the UN Biosafety Protocol is an international
agreement already in place that deals with trade in GMOs. (2)

Two new opinion polls highlighted again Europeans' opposition to GM
foods. A French poll by BVA reports that 78% of French people want a
temporary ban on GM crops. Similarly a Europe-wide poll published
yesterday by the European Food Safety Authority states that 62% of
Europeans are worried about GM products in food. (3)

An international campaign against the WTO dispute called "Bite-back -
WTO: Hands off our food!" - is supported by 750 organisations
representing some 60 million people (see www.bite-back.org). The
coalition states that the industry-friendly WTO is not the right place
to decide what food Europeans should eat. (2)

The "Bite Back" citizens' objection was initiated by Friends of the
Earth International with the support of consumer, development and
farmers' groups, trade unions, research institutes and citizens from
over 100 countries.

NOTES TO EDITORS

(1) EU first written submission,
http://www.foeeurope.org/biteback/download/Second_EU_Submission_to_WTO.pdf

(2) Is the WTO the only way? Safeguarding Multilateral Environmental
Agreements from international trade rules and settling trade and
environment disputes outside the WTO. A briefing paper by Adelphi
Consult, Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace. Available at
http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2005/alternatives_wto.pdf

(3) See
http://www.efsa.eu.int
and
http://www.agirpourlenvironnement.org/

A special media briefing on the GM trade dispute is available at:
www.foeeurope.org/publications/2006/GMO_and_WTO_interim_briefing_Feb2006.pdf

as well as a fact sheet on GMOs and the WTO, see
www.foeeurope.org/publications/2006/GMO_and_WTO_QA_Feb2006.pdf


En Français:
Briefing pour la presse sur le conflit commercial transatlantique sur
les aliments modifiés génétiquement:
www.foeeurope.org/publications/2006/G
MO_et_WTO_briefing_intermediaire_Feb2006_FR.pdf

Les OGM en Europe et l'OMC - Questions réponses
www.foeeurope.org/publications/2006/GMO_et_WTO_QR_Feb2006_FR.pdf

FOE report: Who benefits from GM crops, January 2006-02-07
http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2006/
who_benefits_from_gm_crops_Jan_2006.pdf



CONTACT:
Alexandra Wandel, Friends of the Earth WTO expert, +49 172 748 3953
Adrian Bebb, Friends of the Earth GMO expert, +49 1609 490 1163


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