GENET archive


9-Misc: WTO GM ruling will change nothing, say campaigners

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

TITLE:  WTO GM ruling will change nothing, say campaigners
SOURCE: Food Navigator, France, by Anthony Fletcher
DATE:   13 Feb 2006

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

WTO GM ruling will change nothing, say campaigners

13/02/2006 - The WTO ruling backing the US, Canada and Argentina in their
efforts to open Europe up to genetically modified (GM) food has been
dismissed as 'irrelevant'.

Environmental pressure group Greenpeace argues that opposition to GM
crops is so strong in Europe that consumer distrust will continue to
inform the food industrys attitude towards the technology.

"US agro-chemical giants will not sell a bushel more of their GM grain as
a result of the WTO ruling," said Daniel Mittler, Greenpeace
International trade advisor.

"European consumers, farmers and a growing number of governments remain
opposed to GMOs, and this will not change in Europe or globally.

The $300 million lost exports for US GM maize growers per year will
continue, and remain a warning to exporting countries that GMOs are not
wanted in Europe."

In August 2003, the US, Canada and Argentina took the EU to the WTO for
suspending approvals for biotech products, and for six member states
national bans on EU-approved GMOs. The WTO ruled last week that any any
ban on GM imports contravened the rules of free trade.

Both the European biotechnology industry and the European Commission have
welcomed the decision. "The industry continues to back a science-based
regulatory system to ensure farmers have the choice to use sustainable
techniques that best meet the needs of their farming operations," said
EuropaBio, the European association for biotech industries, in a statement.

It says that since the case was launched in 2003, farmers around the
world have been choosing to plant biotech crops at unprecedented rates.
Last year alone, more than 90 million hectares were sown with biotech
crops by over 8.5 million farmers in 21 countries including European
countries - the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Portugal, Romania and Spain.

"Scientists worldwide have shown GM crops to be safe, farmers around the
world are increasingly choosing to grow GM crops, the food industry is
increasingly supportive and the general public / consumers are
increasingly open to it," said Simon Barber, director of the plant
biotechnology unit at EuropaBio.

But Greenpeace remains convinced that Europe does not want GM food. It is
clear that Member States still need to be convinced that introducing
genetically modified ingredients into food production is acceptable the
Commission has asked EU members over ten times to vote on authorising a
GMO food or feed product, but in the large majority of cases, there was
no agreement or simple deadlock.

"This verdict only proves that the WTO puts trade interests above all
others and is unqualified to deal with complex scientific and
environmental issues," said Mittler. "The US administration and agro-
chemical companies brought the case in a desperate attempt to force-feed
markets with GMOs, but will continue to be frustrated."

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

TITLE:  EU wants Africa's support in WTO farm fight
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   09 Feb 2006

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

EU wants Africa's support in WTO farm fight

PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - Europe's trade chief called on Africa on Thursday
to help him resist calls for sweeping cuts to the EU's farm import
tariffs, saying big developing countries would win market share at the
expense of weaker ones.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson is under presssure from large-scale
agricultural exporters such as Brazil to slash Europe's farm import
tariffs as part of a new World Trade Organisation (WTO) round.

"Trade opening has different effects on different countries. Brazil is
not Burkino Faso. Mauritius is not China. Nor is it Madagascar,"
Mandelson said in a speech to African trade ministers meeting in Mauritius.

"Recognising these differences is not an attempt to 'divide and rule',"
he said. "On the contrary it's about recognition of special needs."

Many of the world's poorest countries have preferential access for their
exports to Europe's farm markets.

The EU says those countries would suffer if the bloc's farm import
tariffs were cut by more than Brussels is proposing because exporters
like Brazil and the United States would be able to dominate Europe's markets.

"The EU is fully committed to supporting your interests in those
negotiations, just as we want all developing countries to fulfil their
potential," Mandelson said in the speech.

"But that also requires on your part a willingness to assert your own
demands, rather than be swept along by others with different economic

The EU's offer to cut farm import tariffs by an average of 38 percent has
been criticised by Brazil, the United States, Australia and a host of
other countries as too modest and the main reason why the WTO
negotiations are way behind schedule.

But Mandelson cannot offer much more on agriculture due to the opposition
of pro-farm EU member states such as France.

EU member countries as a whole say Brazil and other big developing
countries such as India must now move the talks forward by making offers
in the key areas of interest for Europe -- industrial goods and services.

WTO members have set themselves a new deadline of April 30 for agreeing
the key details of the Doha round's agriculture and industrial goods chapters.

The round was launched in 2001 as a way of boosting the world economy and
fighting poverty but negotiators say it risks collapse without agreement
on the core issues in coming months.

                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  'WTO ruling on GM crops threat to India'
SOURCE: The Financial Express, India, by Ashok B. Sharma
DATE:   09 Feb 2006

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

'WTO ruling on GM crops threat to India'

NEW DELHI, FEB 9: The civil society organisations (CSOs) and farmers
groups in the country have expressed their anguish over the ruling of the
WTO dispute settlement body against the European moratorium on
genetically modified (GM)crops and food.

The organisations have said that after this "unfortunate verdict US will
become more aggressive in dumping GM food in India and the Third World,
much against the will of the farmers and consumers in these countries.

Dr Krishan Bir Choudhary, the executive chairman of the country's largest
farmers' organisation, Bharat Krishak Samaj (BKS) said : "The verdict of
the WTO dispute settlement body clearly shows how this global body is
acting against the interests of consumers and farmers. The EU, on basis
of strong public opposition, had decided not to go for introduction of GM
crops. The consumers and farmers in Europe are aware of the health and
environmental hazards of GM crops and food. WTO's recent verdict amounts
to forcing European farmers and consumers into accepting GM food against
their will." Dr Chaudhary further added that after this "unfortunate
verdict", the US will become more aggressive in dumping GM food in the
Third World countries.

Dr Vandana Shiva of the Delhi-based Research Foundation for Science,
Technology and Ecology, and Kavitha Kuruganthi of the Secunderabad-based
Centre for Sustainable Agriculture condemned the WTO's recent ruling in
the same vigour.

Greenpeace has also denounced the WTO ruling which is conditionally
backing the US, Canada and Argentina in their efforts to force Europe for
accepting genetically modified organisms(GMOs). The environmental
organisation considers that the WTO should not be used to undermine the
previous internationally agreed protocols on Biosafety, aimed at
protecting the environment.

It is expected that the US will now try and use the verdict, to force
GMOs into other countries. Yet, the countries have the right to say no to
genetically modified organisms under the United Nations Cartagena
Protocol on Biosafety.

This WTO ruling is not a victory for the genetic engineering industry,
which will not sell a bushel more of its GM grain as a result. Most of
the public, farmers and a growing number of governments are opposed to
GMOs, said Daniel Mittler, Greenpeace International trade advisor.

This verdict only proves that the WTO puts trade interests above all
others, and is unqualified to deal with complex scientific and
environmental issues. While the case demonstrates the desperation of the
US administration and agro-chemical companies, to force-feed southern
markets with GMOs which are unnecessary, risky and unwanted.


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
In den Steinäckern 13
D - 38116 Braunschweig

P: +49-531-5168746
F: +49-531-5168747
M: +49-162-1054755
E: coordination(*)
W: <>

   GENET-news mailing list