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REGULATION & POLICY: US still bullying EU to market GMOs



------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  US still bullying EU to market GMOs
SOURCE: Friends of the Earth Europe, Belgium
AUTHOR: Press Release
URL:    http://www.foeeurope.org/press/2007/May30_HH_EU_US_docs.htm
DATE:   30.05.2007
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US still bullying EU to market GMOs
But avoid the dirty GMO word! advises US official

30 May 2007, Brussels - New documents obtained by Friends of the Earth
reveal that the United States continues to pressure the EU to market new
genetically modified (GM) crops and foods, despite the World Trade
Organisation's recent verdict that the EU has a right to protect itself
against GMOs. In an email exchange, US officials even insisted that the
EU should steer clear of the term "GMOs" in order to minimize public
opposition to its policies. [1]

Friends of the Earth Europe GMO Campaign Coordinator Helen Holder said:

"Even after they failed to win at the WTO, the US, and their friends in
the biotech industry are still trying to force feed European citizens
GMOs. The European Commission must stand firm, and put European
citizens' health, the environment and the right to GM-free food and
farming before the interests of a few big corporations."

The documents - email correspondence and minutes of a meeting between
the European Commission and the US earlier this year - were obtained by
Friends of the Earth Europe under a freedom of information request. The
documents reveal US frustrations at the EU's failure to "normalize
trade" of agricultural biotechnology products and at the "lack of
political will to operate EU approval systems of GMOs" due to member
states' opposition. [2]

The US was pushing the European Commission to:
- Ignore risk assessment concerns and push GMOs quickly on to the EU market
- Agree a deal to fast-track GMOs that the US wants to be sold in Europe
- Authorize a controversial genetically modified oilseed rape as proof
that the Commission is backing down under US pressure
- Bring top EU decision makers into line with US policy and commit to
allowing GMOs into the EU
- Abolish member states' national bans
- Lower standards for GM contamination of food for GMOs that are not
authorized in the EU

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) issued its final ruling of the GMO
dispute last autumn, finding no clear winner or losers.  It did not
question the right of counties to put in place strict biosafety laws,
nor the right of a country to ban an individual GMO. The GMO bans in
place when the complaint was lodged were ruled illegal on a technicality
only [3].


***

For more information, please contact:

Rosemary Hall, Communications Officer at Friends of the Earth Europe:
Mobile +32 485 930515 , rosemary.hall@foeeurope.org
Helen Holder, coordinator of the Friends of the Earth Europe GMOs campaign:
Mobile +32 474 857638 , helen.holder@foeeurope.org

For further background see FoEE media briefing:
http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2007/
FoEE_GMOS_US_pressure_on_EU_brief_May07.pdf 

[1] http://www.foeeurope.org/GMOs/2007/Annex1_US_EC_Emails.pdf 
[2] http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2007/
FoEE_GMOS_US_pressure_on_EU_brief_May07.pdf 
[3] For an overview of the WTO dispute ruling see:
http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2006/WTO_briefing.pdf


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