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GE - mixed catch up August 30th



1) Drugs firm creates 1,500 jobs  BBC ON-line - 31/8/99
 Quintiles is developing a new generation of prescription drugs 
2) From the New York Times by MELODY PETERSEN August 29, 1999
   WASHINGTON -- American farmers paid premium prices this spring to
sow many of their fields with genetically engineered corn and soybeans,
but now as the fall harvest nears, more of the international buyers they
depend
upon are saying they do not want those crops.
3) The Burlington (Vermont) Free Press -Saturday, August 28, 1999 -Police:
Corn
vandalism may be political statement -The Associated Press
4) MORE NEWS ON GE PLAY AT JOHN INNES CENTRE (JIC)
5) MODIFIED FOODS ARE LIKE DRUGS - Aug. 28/99 - Boston Globe 
6) Reprinted with permission from the September 1999 issue of Alive: Canadian
Journal of Health and Nutrition, 7436 Fraser Park Drive, Burnaby, BCV5J 5B9
Tobacco with Human Genes
7) Good for Monsanto. Bad for the poor GUARDIAN (London)  Monday August 30,
1999
8) Dr.PUSZTAI LECTURE IN AMSTERDAM
9) NFPA Tells Members to Ignore Consumer Group Concerns Over Genetically
Engineered Foods, Says FoE August 30, 1999 - U.S. Newswire via NewsEdge
Corporation : WASHINGTON, Aug. 27
10) Newstime By Bharat Jhunjhunwala  Monday, 23nd August 1999 -
11) 31/8/99 BBC ON-line  French hypermarket merger 
12) 31/8/99 BBC ON-line US clashes with France on agriculture 
13) UN commission on GE foods to create global guidelines  - The Codex
Alimentarius 
14) The Burlington (Vermont) Free Press -Saturday, August 28, 1999
Police: Corn vandalism may be political statement [no shit!]
15) Thanks to Patricia Dines <73652.1202@compuserve.com> for posting the
following websites with common questions on GE.


 1) Drugs firm creates 1,500 jobs  BBC ON-line - 31/8/99
 Quintiles is developing a new generation of prescription drugs 
> American pharmaceuticals firm Quintiles has confirmed plans to create
> 1,500 jobs in Scotland. 
> Scotland's First Minister, Donald Dewar, welcomed the annoucement. 
> He said: "There are 40,000 people operating in biotechnology in
> Scotland and once again we have proved we can provide staff of the
> right academic quality."
>  Industry experts said the announcement marks one of the largest inward
> investments in Scotland this year.  
> The company, which already employs 500 people at plants in Bathgate,
> Livingston and Riccarton, near Edinburgh, will recruit the new workers
> over the next six years.  
> Investment greater than expected Most of the jobs will be in clinical
> trials management at the North Carolina-based company's facility at
> Bathgate.  
> The company said it will recruit people into its laboratories to
> develop the next generation of prescription drugs.  
> Quintiles said it has decided to concentrate much of this
> knowledge-based work in Scotland. 
>  Industry analysts said the announcement is greater than had been
> expected, with the company due to create 500 more jobs than had been
> anticipated.  
> The BBC understands the majority of new posts will be at the clinical
> trials centre and will involve both manufacture and packaging. 
>  Quintiles is the largest contract pharmaceuticals company in the
> world, employing more than 20,000 people globally.  
> It supplies a full range of drugs development services, like
> pre-clinical testing. 
> Manufacturing base  
> In Bathgate, 300 people work as chemists and statisticians providing
> data management services, while the company chose Livingston to site
> its UK drugs manufacturing base. 
> A call centre, which recruits and monitors volunteers to test new
> drugs, is also based in Livingston. 
> Scotland's First Minister, Donald Dewar, welcomed the annoucement. 
> He said: "There are 40,000 people operating in biotechnology in
> Scotland and once again we have proved we can provide staff of the
> right academic quality."
==================
2) From the New York Times by MELODY PETERSEN August 29, 1999
   WASHINGTON -- American farmers paid premium prices this spring to
sow many of their fields with genetically engineered corn and soybeans,
but now as the fall harvest nears, more of the international buyers they
depend
upon are saying they do not want those crops.


    Consumers and food companies in a growing number of countries are
shunning the new crops created by genetic engineers at such companies as
Monsanto, DuPont and Novartis. Foreign consumers say they do not wish to
eat the new foods like corn that have been altered to produce their own
pesticide, and some companies are reacting quickly to consumers' desires
even though no clear evidence exists that the crops are unsafe.

    This week in Japan, for example, the Kirin Brewery Company announced
that starting in 2001 it would use only corn that has not been
genetically engineered. While bowing to customers' concerns, Kirin made
clear that it did not think the products were unhealthy. A day later,
Kirin's competitor, Sapporo Breweries, announced that it, too, would
revert to traditional corn, which is an ingredient in some types of
beer.

     The biotechnology industry plays down the recent decisions of some
food companies, saying they are overreacting to threats that aren't
real. Most consumers, the industry says, do not mind these new products.

      Until a few months ago, opposition to genetically altered foods
was largely confined to Europe, and trade officials in the United States
have been battling the European Union, which has stopped buying all
American corn. But this summer, the Clinton Administration's efforts
have grown increasingly urgent, in an attempt to contain the aversion to
these crops that is leaping from continent to continent.

      Japan, which now wants mandatory labeling of gene-altered
products, is the largest importer of American crops, and Mexico, whose
top producer of corn flour for tortillas is avoiding altered grain, is
the second largest importer of American corn.

       "This is a very significant trade threat," said Peter Scher, who
directs the agricultura negotiations for the United States Trade
Representative's Office. "The only thing I can tell farmers is that we
are doing everything we can to sell their products overseas."

       About a third of American crops, including soybeans and corn, are
exported. This year, American farmers planted an estimated 60 million
acres (the size of the United Kingdom) with genetically engineered corn
and soybean seeds, accounting for nearly half of all soybeans in the
United States and about a third of all corn.

        Most farmers still expect that they will find a market for much
of this year's corn and soybean crops, industry officials say. But they
have already been told that seven varieties of gene-altered corn,
representing about 5 percent of the expected harvest, will be rejected
by corn exporters. Most of that will be ground into animal feed.

              Next year's harvest looms as more troublesome, with public
sentiment changing, foreign markets shrinking and the agriculture
industry struggling to adjust.

              For the first time this summer, many corn growers are
dealing with costly new issues.  Local grain elevator operators, who buy
and store wagonloads of corn to sell to the exporters, have begun asking
farmers to separate some types of gene-altered corn from ordinary corn
to appease international buyers.

              Dennis Mitchell, a farmer in Houghton, S.D., has been an
enthusiastic producer of gene-altered corn and planted 600 acres this
spring, 80 percent of which is a crop altered to produce a toxin that
kills the European corn borer.

              He boasts that the new seeds have increased his yield by
at least 15 percent, and he has received assurances from local elevator
operators that he will be able to sell his grain this year.

              But he is paying close attention to the tremors in the
marketplace, especially now that American companies like Gerber and
Heinz baby foods have announced that they will not use genetically
altered corn or soy ingredients. And he is uncertain what he will do
next year when spring planting season arrives.

              "I wish we could get this cleared up," he said. "I
certainly can't raise anything I can't market."

              Such uncertainty only adds to the problems of American
farmers, who point out that this year's crop prices are the lowest in
more than a decade.

              "This is such a hard time for us, and then you compound
that with this uncertainty," said Gary Goldberg, the chief executive of
the American Corn Growers Association, a group that has been opposed to
some practices of the biotechnology industry. It represents 14,000
independent farmers.

              "Farmers are going to get caught in the middle," he said.
Clinton Administration officials have repeatedly assured
consumers that all of the genetically engineered crops that have been
approved in the United States are safe for people to eat. And, indeed,
there is no compelling scientific evidence that shows the foods are
unsafe. But the crops are so new that there is not enough evidence to
prove the foods' safety to a minority of scientists who say further
studies need to be done.

              Dan Glickman, the Secretary of Agriculture, said that the
consumers' concerns seemed to be spreading like "an infectious disease."
              "This technology," he said, "got a little bit ahead of the
politics."

              He and Federal trade officials have spent the summer
pressing European leaders and agricultural ministers to reconsider what
is essentially the European Union's moratorium on new types of
gene-altered crops. They have threatened some countries with
intercession by the World Trade Organization, arguing that restrictions
on these foods run counter to the current science supporting their
safety.

              Genetic engineering is a process in which scientists
splice one organism's genes into another. For example, scientists
created the pesticide-producing corn by inserting a gene from a
bacterium.

              Most of the corn and soybeans have been altered to either
produce their own pesticides or to be resistant to herbicides. The first
gene-altered seeds were offered to farmers in 1996, and growers snatched
them up, quickly making the new biotechnology into a
multibillion-dollar  business for the seed companies.

              The biotechnology companies say that the food companies
are caving in to pressure from environmental advocates who have written
letters saying that consumers do not want these products.

              "Consumers are turning away from these foods in enormously
smaller numbers than the activists would have you believe," said L. Val
Giddings, a vice president for food and agriculture at the Biotechnology
Industry Organization, a trade group of more than 800 companies in
Washington.

              Still, farmers and trade officials point to new problems.
In Mexico, which bought $500 million of American corn last year, Grupo
Maseca, the company that is the leading producer of corn flour, said
recently that it would avoid importing genetically modified grain. The
corn flour is made into tortillas, the Mexican staple.

              In South Korea, another large importer of American grain,
corn-processing companies said they were considering buying corn from
China instead of the United States because of concerns about the
gene-altered crop.

              And, in Japan, the Government passed a law requiring food
companies to label products that have been genetically engineered. (In
the United States, Federal officials have only recently said they will
consider voluntary labeling.) Preparing for awareness generated by the
labeling in Japan, a subsidiary of the Honda Motor Company said this
week that it would build a plant in the United States and hire farmers
to supply it only with unaltered, conventional soybeans. The soybeans,
which would be exported back to Japan, would be made into tofu.

              In the United States, where there has been little uproar
over the foods, the baby food makers Gerber and H. J. Heinz were the
first large food companies to reject the new products. Then Iams, the
pet food company, said it would not buy the seven varieties of
gene-altered corn that have not been approved by European regulators.
Iams's announcement shut down an alternative route that farmers had for
that corn that exporters will not accept.

              The agricultural industry has begun responding, with exporters
trying to devise new methods to bridge the growing gap between farmers and
consumers. A two-price system -- higher prices for conventional crops and
lower
prices for genetically-altered crops -- is clearly developing. For example,
this year, the Archer Daniels Midland
Company has been paying some farmers an extra 18 cents for each bushel
of non-altered soybeans.

              The American Corn Growers Association, which represents
mostly family farms, told its members last week that they should
consider planting only conventional seeds next spring, unless a host of
questions can be answered, including whether the United States will be
able to export the genetically altered crops.

              The National Corn Growers Association, which is about
twice as big as the American Corn Growers Association, and has a
financial partnership with Monsanto and some of the other agricultural
companies, has not followed suit.

              Susan Keith, the group's senior director for public
policy, said that the association, which is based in St. Louis, was
keeping farmers informed of what types of genetically altered corn could
be the hardest to sell, but had not suggested that they consider
planting only conventional seeds.

              The worries about international trade have deepened farmers'
fears of a bleaker economic future.

              Prices for most crops are the lowest in 10 years, and
farmers say they are concerned that grain prices are falling even
further now that foreign consumers are turning away from  genetically
altered crops. But experts say prices have mostly been affected by the
larger harvests in other countries, which have reduced the demand for
grain from the United States. In addition, the financial crisis in Asia
caused exports to fall last year and prices to drop. And overproduction
of some crops continues to hurt prices.

              For now, uncertainty about the next planting season is
bedeviling the nation's farmers. They cannot predict where the next food

backlash will surface and sometimes, even if they do, it is too late.

              "It wasn't until May that farmers got word that Europe had
not approved certain kinds of corn," Goldberg said. "By then, the corn
was in the ground."
===================

3) The Burlington (Vermont) Free Press -Saturday, August 28, 1999 -Police:
Corn
vandalism may be political statement -The Associated Press

WELLS RIVER -- Vandals lopped off a 50-square foot section of corn
plants in a farm field in an act that police believe was a political
statement.

Three large, brightly colored cutouts of monarch butterflies were placed
in the field and the vandals left a sign with a message opposing the use
of Bt corn, a genetically altered strain of the crop that is resistant
to the European corn borer, a common and costly pest.

Some recent studies have suggested that pollen from Bt corn is also
toxic to monarch caterpillars.

Vermont State Police Trooper Greg Campbell said no one has been charged
in the crime, though police have leads and are focusing on someone in
the area.

The crime occurred Tuesday night. The most likely charges are unlawful
mischief or theft, both misdemeanors, Campbell said.

"I've never had a case like this," he said.

Chris Hill, the herdsman at Knoxland dairy farm in Wells River,
characterized the operation as "a very large, progressive farm. . . .
We're a high profile target."

The farm has 250 dairy cows and about 250 acres of corn. Knoxland's
three locations have a total of 1,000 cows and 540 acres of corn.
Campbell said about half of Knox's crop is Bt corn and the remainder is
not genetically altered.

Bt corn is engineered to contain a naturally occurring bacteria called
Bacillus thuringiensis that is deadly to the corn borer and other insect
larvae.

Before the strain of corn was released in 1996, farmers used
insecticides to control the corn borer population. Environmental
activists became concerned about the genetically engineered Bt corn
after results of a Cornell University study were published in May, said
Rebecca Goldburg of the Environmental Defense Fund in New York.

The laboratory study found that half the monarch caterpillars in the
study died after being exposed to pollen from Bt corn. Those that
survived were stunted.

"We view vandalism as an inappropriate response, though we have concerns
about Bt corn," said Goldburg, a senior scientist with the defense fund.
==================
Date: 30 Aug 1999 07:50:25 -0500
From: Jonathan <mail@icsenglish.com>
4) MORE NEWS ON GE PLAY AT JOHN INNES CENTRE (JIC)
Yesterday we reported on the play to be staged by the JIC in Norwich
this Thursday, and which the JIC claims gives a balanced view on GE,
following careful consultation with all parties (they name the Soil
Association specifically). ngin has now received an interesting letter
from the person who represented the Soil Association at the initial
meeting with the theatre company producing the play. The Soil
Association's representative was apparently "totally outnumbered in the
room with everyone else from industry etc" Present among many other
pro-GE spokespeople at the meeting were: Tony Coombes (representing at
the time Safeway, the most pro-GE of all the supermarkets, and now a PR
man for Monsanto), Julian Kindelerer and Phil Dale (both passionate
scientific advocates of GE foods) and Claire Robinson, the JIC spin
doctor who authored the highly-biased schools project "Biotechnology in
Our Food Chain" to which we also referred yesterday. The Soil
Association's representative complained that the set up of the meeting
was unfair, with only one critic represented. He is not aware of whether
any further consultation took place to right this extraordinary
imbalance. Certainly no GE critics other than the Soil Association were
referred to in yesterday's article and we suspect that any project
sponsored by the JIC is likely to be about as balanced as its scientists
are independent!!!
======================

5) MODIFIED FOODS ARE LIKE DRUGS - Aug. 28/99 - Boston Globe 
Paul R. Billings, a director of the Council for Responsible Genetics,
writes in this op-ed piece that tales of Terminator seeds, Frankenfood,
and toxic baby pabulum are proliferating. An increasingly strident trade

war over policies concerning genetically modified foods, alienating
traditional political allies, is gaining momentum.
Billings says that as our grocery store shelves become increasingly
crowded with new kinds of food, a reassessment of the role of what we
eat in health and disease seems wise. Shouldn't we be asking: Is food a
drug?
One of the triumphs of 20th century biomedical science has been the
demonstration of the role of food's constituents - its proteins, fats,
sugars, vitamins and minerals - in our metabolism. Basic processes like
movement, temperature regulation, and thinking depend on a consistent
supply of key nutrients. The components of food are the basic
prescription for all aspects of our normal life and health.
When ill, eating can be effective treatment. Fevers, faints, high blood

pressure, even heart diseases can find remedy in diet. And the actions
of prescribed medications are often modified by what we eat.
Antibiotics, ulcer treatments, and blood thinners are examples of
prescription drugs whose effectiveness can be altered by food. Billings
says that genetically manipulated food may not have the same medicinal
properties and that research on altered soybeans shows they are not
equally beneficial in important properties. Interactions with
medications could change as well.
Some people get sick after taking a new medication. The same is true
for food. Food allergies and intolerance are common. The altering of
food by the insertion of new genes can create new immunological
complications. Billings says that signs of nut allergy are produced by
certain genetically manipulated foods that previously were harmless. In
rare cases, says Billings, children can develop mental retardation and
die by simply eating a normal American diet. Careful management of their

intake is crucial to their well-being. The alteration of foods could
interfere with these dietary treatments. The safety of new or altered
drugs is extensively documented prior to their public release. But
genetically manipulated foods are not similarly scrutinized. Individuals

whose health depends on a stable food supply may be particularly
vulnerable to uncertain or unknown food content.
Like swallowed pills, food is broken down in our gastrointestinal
systems and absorbed. New proteins or the genes that make them, eaten in

altered foods, enter our bodies. Genes that confer antibiotic resistance

are used to manufacture new food products. These genes could move from
what we have eaten into us or into the bacteria that inhabit our
intestines. Such transfers, says Billings, might alter our health
directly or change the beneficial symbiosis between people and their
bugs.
Finally, we depend on a stable food supply, just as we trust that the
water we drink and the air we breathe are safe. For centuries we have
purchased food from people we trusted.. The reliable qualities and
properties of food have allowed it to play a role in rituals and
religious
practices. Altering food may deprive believers of the assurance that
food
is pure or kosher. Fear of food's content can alter one's sense of
well-being. In extreme cases, malnutrition could occur. The Food and
Drug
Administration has dealt with this issue with unscientific blinders. If
altered foods look the same, they argue that their medicinal properties
are substantially the same as well. Billings asks if two different pills

are the same color and taste similarly, are they equivalent? Is that
safe?
Food is a drug, is part of medical treatments, and plays many roles in
a
healthy culture. That genetically engineered food will hurt some people
is
a reasonable presumption. Like all drugs, the medicinal qualities of
food
need to be known and reliable. Though it may be a bitter pill,
acknowledging that food is a drug and assuring its quality is good
medicine.
It's also a proper and hitherto neglected function of government.
===================
6) Reprinted with permission from the September 1999 issue of Alive: Canadian
Journal of Health and Nutrition, 7436 Fraser Park Drive, Burnaby, BCV5J 5B9
Tobacco with Human Genes

Tobacco plants with human genes are being grown at Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada's research station at Delphi, near London, Ontario.
The
plants contain the human gene to produce biochemicals for medical
purposes.

The genetically engineered tobacco will soon be grown in fields near the

research station. No one knows the long-term effects on the environment
or
what might happen if the biotech tobacco cross-pollinates and the human
gene spreads to other tobacco plants. Another serious concern is the
unknown effect on humans who breathe the pollen containing human genes.
If
you are concerned, contact Dr. Jim Brandle at Agriculture Canada. Phone
(519) 663-3326; fax (519) 663-3454; email:  brandleje@em.agr.ca.

B. COMMENT ON THESE EXPERIMENTS BY PROFESSOR JOE CUMMINS:

From:
          joe cummins <jcummins@julian.uwo.ca>

Today a large "scientific" convention on Biotechnology in London,
Ontario is hearing about experiments conducted and approved by
Agriculture Canada the government Ministry regulating Genetically
Modified crops. The experiments involve field testing of Tobacco plants
modified with the human gene for interlukin, a key regulator of the
human immune system. The field tests were done near London, Ontario in a

densely populated area. The researchers and regulators assumed that
their was no human nor environmental threat from the tests , admitting
that no animals had been tested to verify the safety of the crop.
The spread of the product will be prevented by deflowering the crop even

though the authorities have proclaimed the experiment and the GM product

to be safe. The spread of the product through sucking insects and its
fate in the soil and groundwater have not been admitted in the official
safety proclamation. Those promoting such experiments are brutally
intolerant of those that disagree with their proclamations and
assurances.
Interestingly, similar experiments have been proclaimed safe for pig
viruses in plants. The home of the experiments , London, Ontario has
also taken up the humanized pig to human transplants that have been
rejected in Europe and USA because of the safety concerns over the novel

pig virus (ERV) released in such experiments.
Finally, those concerned that corporations will export dangerous
experiments to developing countries can relax. The Ontario population
has been provided as white mice for most dangerous and careless
experiments!
===================
7) Good for Monsanto. Bad for the poor GUARDIAN (London)  Monday August 30,
1999
by   Larry Elliott                           
Were a modern day Moses to come shuffling down off the mountain with the
10 commandments of economics, at the top of the list would be: thou shalt
believe in tearing down all barriers to trade. There may be doubts in some
quarters about whether it was wise to privatise the railways or remove all
curbs on capital flows, but it is a truth universally acknowledged that
trade liberalisation is good for growth.

Yet orthodoxies are there to be challenged and, with the World Trade
Organisation about to embark on a new round of liberalisation later this
year, it is worth testing the proposition that all policymakers should be
gung-ho about embarking on further liberalisation.

As every tiro economist knows, the theoretical basis for trade
liberalisation is David Ricardo's notion of comparative advantage: the
idea that countries should specialise in what they do best (or least
badly) and then exchange the fruits of their expertise through trade.
Ricardo showed that all countries would benefit if they cut tariffs, which
were widespread when he was writing in the first half of the19th century.

Like any economic theory, Ricardo's comparative advantage was hedged
around with assumptions and qualifications; so much so that it could be
argued the preconditions for perfect free trade never apply in the real
world.

No matter, say Ricardo's disciples, there is plenty of evidence that
protection is bad for you, and if protection is bad for you then free
trade must be good. QED. The most famous example of this is the
Smoot-Hawley tariff in the United States in 1930, blamed for turning the
stock market crash of 1929 into the Great Depression. What's more,
countries that liberalised trade have grown much faster than those which
have remained stuck behind tariff walls; witness North and South Korea.

Let's take the three points in turn. Even with all the qualifications,
Ricardo was right to say that trade is better than no trade. There may be
some ecological purists who argue for total self-sufficiency, but one has
to assume that they never eat a Caribbean banana or enjoy a glass of
French wine. More seriously, the economic historian David Landes notes in
his book The Wealth and Poverty of Nations that one advance in health was
the replacement of woollen underclothing - which was difficult to wash and
trapped disease - by cotton garments. Wool was plentiful in Britain;
cotton came from India or America.

It is, however, quite a jump from saying that trade can be beneficial to
asserting that any attempt to regulate, manage or limit trade is harmful.
Between 1920 and 1930 the average tariff on imported goods in the US was
raised from 16% to 40%, so if protectionism is bad the result should have
been sluggish growth. The 1920s in America saw manufacturing output rise
64% and output per worker up 40%. Between 1922 and 1927, the economy grew
7% a year.

The Smoot-Hawley act raised the average tariff still further, to 59%, but
why should this have been disastrous for the economy when the increase in
the 1920s was not? The answer is it was not higher tariffs that caused the
depression but misguided monetary and fiscal policy. Between 1929 and
1933, US GNP fell from $104bn to $56bn, a huge reduction. Of this fall of
$48bn, $47.3bn was the result of lower domestic spending and $700m came
from a drop in net exports.

Still, that's ancient history. In the modern world the idea that trade
liberalisation leads to higher growth looks empirically sound. The OECD,
for example, said last year: "More open and outward-oriented economies
consistently outperform countries with restrictive trade and [foreign]
investment regimes."

In the light of this widely held belief, new work from two American
economists - Francisco Rodriguez of the university of Maryland and Dani
Rodrik of Harvard - is illuminating. They found scant evidence to support
the view that cutting tariffs and removing protectionist measures boost
economic growth.

The two argue in a discussion paper for the Centre for Economic Policy
Research* that there are weaknesses in the seminal 1995 work by Jeffrey
Sachs and Andrew Warner on the benefits of trade liberalisation. Sachs and
Warner classified 79 countries in terms of lack of openness, but this was
a composite measure which included important factors in addition to high
tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Rodriguez and Rodrik say that it is these
other factors - particularly the state monopoly on trade for African
countries and the thriving black economy for the national currency - which
were linked to growth rates.

"Our bottom line is that the nature of the relationship between trade
policy and economic growth remains very much an open question. The issue
is far from having been settled on empirical grounds. We are in fact
sceptical that there is a general, unambiguous relationship between trade
openness and growth waiting to be discovered."

Rodriguez and Rodrik do not say protectionism is good for growth but their
findings are important in the light of the pressure for countries to
liberalise, especially since many western nations industrialised behind
high tariff walls.

There is a world of difference between the US in the 1920s, when a high
tariff was combined with ferocious internal competition, and North Korea,
where protectionism is combined with an absence of internal competition.
Protectionism can be bad for growth but only if accompanied by other
harmful economic policies.

However, even if there is no cast-iron link between trade liberalisation
and growth rates, there could be benefits to consumers that make the
process worthwhile and reasons to support a rules-based system which
prevents powerful countries from riding roughshod over the weak and small.

Again, the reality falls short of the rhetoric. A report by Consumers
International, an umbrella body for consumer organisations around the
globe, concludes that the last package of liberalisation measures "reaped
results only for a handful of multinational companies and has not improved
consumer rights. Throughout the world, consumers are finding that the
threat of trade sanctions is being used to dismantle consumer protection
in favour of corporate rights."

The report cites the case of Thailand, which banned the import of foreign
cigarettes on health grounds and then had the embargo challenged by the
US. Despite evidence from the World Health Organisation that, once the
market was opened, the US multinational tobacco companies would do their
utmost to force governments to accept terms that undermined public health,
a WTO disputes panel ruled against the Thai ban.

This is the Landes argument turned on its head, with the impact of trade
being bad rather than good for health. It is easy to see why
multinationals want to remove trade restrictions, and they see the WTO as
the instrument for doing so. The last round of talks was skewed heavily in
favour of rich western nations.

The Consumers International report says this is not the way it was meant
to be and that before any further liberalisation there must be systematic
reform of the WTO, including greater input by non-governmental
organisations and an equal participation in negotiations by all countries,
coupled with safeguards in areas such as food security, health and
competition. As the furore over genetically modified crops indicates, the
mood is changing. Consumers are getting wary. They don't believe that what
is good for Monsanto and Philip Morris is necessarily good for them. They
are right.

*Trade Policy and Economic Growth: a sceptic's guide to the
cross-national evidence; CEPR, 90-98 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7RR; #5
===============
From: wytze <geno@zap.a2000.nl>
Subject: 
8) Dr.PUSZTAI LECTURE IN AMSTERDAM
On Friday 10 september 1999, Dr. Pusztai will give a lecture in
Amsterdam.
Dr. Pusztai will be the main guest and speaker at a seminar on food
safety of GE food.

For this opportunity we also invited his main critic here, Dr. Kuiper of
the RIKILT institute. The RIKILT institute is involved in the safety
evaluation in the Netherlands and Dr. Kuiper is also a member of the
Scientific Committee on Plants of the European Commission. Since Kuiper
and RIKILT now want to do lectin research in transgenic plants we of
course expected their participation. However, Dr. Kuiper and the RIKILT
told us that they think "enough has been said on the issue".

Enough has been said?
This is the first! (and probably only) time  that Dr. Pusztai will come
here and will respond to the arguments that have been brought against
him.

We invite everybody to send in questions that you would like to be asked
to Dr. Pusztai.
We will give the answers and a report of the event on the different
list.

Wytze de Lange
Dutch Platform on Genetechnologies
===============
9) NFPA Tells Members to Ignore Consumer Group Concerns Over Genetically
Engineered Foods, Says FoE August 30, 1999 - U.S. Newswire via NewsEdge
Corporation : WASHINGTON, Aug. 27
/U.S. Newswire/ -- Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) Week
reported today that the National
Food Processors Association
(NFPA) is "advising its members
to ignore the efforts of advocate
groups seeking to pinpoint and
reduce the use of genetically
engineered (GE) ingredients."
This announcement comes in the
wake of a Friends of the Earth
(FoE) letter-writing campaign
directed at the CEOs of 83
prominent food companies -- among
them PepsiCo., Nabisco, Nestle,
General Mills and Kellogg --
inquiring whether or not any use
potentially harmful genetically
modified Bt corn in of their
products.

Friends of the Earth is concerned
because a recent study conducted
by Cornell University published
in the journal Nature found that
corn genetically engineered to
include the Bacillus
Thuringiensis (Bt) kills the
larvae of the Monarch butterfly.

"NFPA is telling big food
companies to thumb their nose at
consumer concerns," said Friends
of the Earth President Dr. Brent
Blackwelder, "Food companies need
to look at the facts of recent
scientific studies and not the
profit-driven bias of the NFPA."

According to a Consumer Reports
study published yesterday,
scientists at Iowa State
University determined that
"pollen from some types of
genetically modified corn can
kill monarch larvae."

The FoE Letter was sent on August
6. To date, only one company --
UTZ Quality Foods Inc. -- has
responded. UTZ, a maker of potato
chips and snack foods,
acknowledges that it uses
genetically engineered
ingredients in its foods. In
their letter to FoE, they stated
"The FDA does not regard GE foods
as any different from foods
processed through conventional
means."

"The FDA is letting American
consumers down," said
Blackwelder. "FoE and food safety
advocates insist that the FDA is
required by law to examine GE
foods because the are different.
They can contain genes from other
species, have traits that do not
occur naturally, and are changed
in ways that scientists say
cannot be accurately measured."

[Copyright 1999, Comtex]
   Copyright (c) 1999 
==========================
10) Newstime By Bharat Jhunjhunwala  Monday, 23nd August 1999 -  The Agenda
attacks the MNCs and seeks support for village and small
> industries. It correctly points out that the BJP which won the
> elections on
> the platform of swadeshi has been ever running after 'videshi' capital
> 
>  Forty NGOs have issued a 'People's Agenda' for the elections. The
> signatories include Christian, dalit and foreign organisations like
> Greenpeace International. They have attacked MNCs and 'big' business
> alike
> as also rich farmers. They propagate that public sector and farmer's
> cooperatives are the solution to people's problems.
> 
>  This approach will lead to a weak Indian economy. The reason that
> such
> ideas are nevertheless propounded is that it serves the self-interest
> of
> these NGOs. And since they are often foreign-funded, it serves the
> interest
> of their donors as well. An economically weak India will remain
> perpetually
> at their money.
> 
>  There are two types of global NGOs today. Some are supported by the
> World
> Bank and governments of industrial countries. Their agenda is to
> create a
> positive public image for their country to distract the attention from
> the
> extraction of profits by their exporters and MNCs.
> 
>  The second type are those that oppose the growing global clout of
> MCNs.
> They want the MNCs to be restrained. But they are unwilling to let go
> the
> high standards of living of the donor countries brought about as
> result of
> the same trade and foreign investment. They want sustainable
> extraction of
> profits from the development countries.
> 
>  Multi-nationals
> 
>  The 'People Agenda' has been framed by such latter NGOs. It has an
> anti-MNC approach but it is anti-Indian business as well. Therefore it
> preempts any possibility of Indian business challenging MNC supremacy.
> This
> suits the NGOs well for it creates a permanent stand for their
> existence.
> 
>  The Agenda attacks the MNCs and seeks supports for village and small
> industries. It correctly points out that the BJP which won the
> elections on
> the platform of swadeshi has been ever running after 'videshi'
> capital.
> 
>  Thus far okay. But the it goes on to attack 'big' business and rich
> farmers as well. Who them will establish the large industries in
> India? The
> Agenda is silent. But there is an implicit advocacy of the public
> sector.
> "Continues with the policy of having public sector participation in
> certain
> basic industries like steel, oil and natural gas."
> 
>  How will the public sector be run efficiently? Again there is no
> clear
> answer. But implicit is the role of NGOs. The Agenda calls for
> initiation
> of "steps to induct the voluntary sector in the development process as
> partners and collaborators," and to "evolve mechanism to utilise
> expertise
> of NGOs in development policy formulation and decision making." Then
> there
> is a strong stress on right to information. Their development strategy
> becomes clear. The MNCs, big business and rich farmers are all 'bad'
> elements. Economy must be run by the public sector. The NGOs will see
> to it
> that they are run efficiently.
> 
>  The fact is that Gandhiji said almost the same thing. The
> constructive
> worker, rooted in the masses, would act as a check on the government.
> But
> there are two crucial differences. One, Gandhi never decried 'big'
> swadeshi
> business. Two, he had always fought against foreign interference in
> Indian
> economy. Never in his dreams he would have imagined that foreign
> governments, would sustain the constructive worker. He would have
> liked him
> to collect a rupee each from every house to sustain himself.
> 
>  The same philosophy takes on an entirely different colour in the
> hands of
> foreign-funded NGOs. Accountability of the government can certainly be
> sought by people-funded Constructive workers but never by
> foreign-funded
> NGOs irrespective of their self-proclaimed bonafides.
> 
>  The real Agenda of these NGOs then is to put a full stop to the
> privates
> sector based development process and put into place a public
> sector-cum-NGO
> model. We should not get confused by the anti-MNC tirade in the
> Agenda. Had
> the NGOs supported Indian 'big' business the anti-MNC tirade would
> have
> been real. Then they could certainly ask for more regulation of
> swadeshi
> business. Alas that is not the case. The objective is to kill both
> MNCs and
> Indian business together so that India's economic development is
> arrested,
> poverty remains unabated and locus standi for foreign - and government
> funded NGOs is rendered 'sustainable'.
> 
>  There is indeed a growing opposition to the global MNCs in the
> industrial
> countries. NGOs like Greenpeace and Worldwatch follow this line. It is
> not
> surprising therefore that their collaborators in India too engage in
> an
> anti-MNC trade. But it would be foolish to deduce from this that
> either
> wants equality between the developing and industrial countries. These
> 'global' NGOs are unwilling to let go of the high standards of living
> of
> their home countries which have been sustained by transfers from the
> developing countries through unfair trade or foreign investment. They
> are
> worried that MNCs will rock the boat by 'overexploiting' the
> development
> countries. They seek sustainable exploitation of the development
> countries.
> So also our forty NGOs.
> 
>  The present Agenda is yet more dangerous. It negates the principle
> that
> Indian politics should be indulged in by Indian money. This principle
> that
> led to restriction on entry of foreign media and to receipt of foreign
> funds by political parties.
> 
>  This same principle had led to the stipulation in the Foreign
> Contribution
> Regulation Act that foreign-funded NGOs will not engage in publishing
> magazines etc. This principle stands entirely negated in issuance of
> the
> 'People's Agenda'. These foreign-funded NGOs have argued that India
> should
> not make nuclear weapons and that she should developed friendly
> relations
> with China.
> 
>  If we consider these NGOs as agents of their donors, then the
> 'People's
> Agenda' become yet more subversive. It asks that the Indian government
> should open up its working to the scrutiny of the 'people' ie. the
> foreign-funded NGOs: "It has been song of those who thirst for
> absolute
> power that the interest of the state requires that its affairs be
> conducted
> in secret." They are in effect pleading that the working of Indian
> government be opened to their scrutiny, and through them that of their
> foreign donors.
> 
>  Foreign contributions
> 
>  Not that these questions must be brushed aside. It must indeed be
> asked
> whether India should make the nuclear bomb or have friendly relations
> with
> China. But the right to ask these questions rests strictly with those
> who
> do not receive foreign contributions. It does not suffice to say that
> they
> are Indian citizens Let us not forget that we have had our Jai Chands.
> 
>  The intentions of these NGOs do not matter. One may safely presume
> that
> many are honestly concerned. But intentions are a poor defence in the
> harsh
> world of politics. And the politics of foreign-funded NGOs is that of
> creating a poor and weak India which is ever begging foreign
> government and
> global NGOs. This advocacy of a weak India is disguised in the name of
> 'People's Agenda'.
> 
> 
> ************************************************
> C. S. Prakash
> Tuskegee University
> Center for Plant Biotechnology Research
> Tuskegee, AL 36088, USA
> 
> <mailto:Prakash@tusk.edu>mailto:Prakash@tusk.edu
>
<http://agriculture.tusk.edu/biotech/biotech.html>http://agriculture.tusk.ed
u/biotech/biotech.html
> 
> Phone (334) 727 8023; Fax (334) 727 8067
> ************************************************
> 
====================
11) 31/8/99 BBC ON-line  French hypermarket merger 
> French supermarkets are facing their biggest challenge 
> French hypermarket chains Carrefour and Promodes are merging to create
> to the world's second largest retail group. 
> 
> The BBC's Mike Johnson: "This proposed merger will create Europe's
> biggest retailer"
> Carrefour is offering six shares for one in its rival in a friendly
> deal that has been unanimously recommended by the Promodes board. 
> 
> The offer represents a big premium on Promodes' Friday share price,
> valuing the group at $16.6bn. 
> 
> Shares in Promodes closed up 18% on the Paris stock market following
> the announcement. 
> 
> Wal-Mart is stalking Europe
> Carrefour chairman Daniel Bernard will head the new group. 
> 
> The merger is being driven by the fear that Wal-Mart, the mighty US
> retailer whose sales dwarf its European rivals, might swoop on France.
> 
> 
> Wal-Mart, which is looking for more international acquisitions to
> boost its growth, has already bought the UK's Asda supermarket group
> and two food retailers in Germany. 
> 
> New retail giant 
> 
> Retail Management Consultant Robert Clark talks about how significant
> the merger is.
> The new group will have 8,000 stores and nearly 200,000 employees,
> with a strong presence in southern Europe and Latin America as well as
> France. 
> 
> The new company says its expects double-digit sales growth in 1999. 
> 
> Carrefour is France's second largest supermarket group, selling
> everything from food to computers in its hypermarkets. It has 134
> hypermarkets in France, and also operates supermarkets under the Stoc,
> Picard and Marche Plus brands. With a market capitalisation of $34bn
> (£21bn) it would be the senior partner in any share swap. 
> 
> Promodes, the smaller partner, is controlled by the Halley family. 
> 
> It operates hypermarkets under the Continent brand in France, Belgium,
> and Spain, as well as owning 1,344 supermarkets and thousands of Dia
> discount stores (mainly in Spain and Portugal). 
> 
> Together, the combined group would have sales of $54bn (£34bn) and net
> profits of nearly $1bn (£600m). 
> 
> Both groups have a significant international presence. Carrefour
> derives 23% of its sales from Latin America, and is the market leader
> in Brazil. Promodes is prominent in Spain and Italy, and also has
> stores in Argentina. Together the group would be the largest retailer
> in nine countries: France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Brazil,
> Argentina, Taiwan and Indonesia. 
> 
> Takeover rumours 
> 
> Carrefour has been the subject of takeover rumours for weeks, with one
> suggestion that Dutch retail group Ahold was preparing a bid. 
> 
> German supermarket chain Metro, Europe's largest before the French
> merger, said it was watching developments "very keenly". Metro, which
> has 40% of its sales outside Germany, is likely to be interested in
> expanding its international presence. 
> 
> Other big French supermarket groups, like Intermarche, Auchan, and
> Leclerc, may now become takeover targets, with the more highly rated
> shares of UK supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury's making such
> acquisitions attractive. 
> 
> Auchan said it had been approached by Wal-Mart in June. 
> 
> Given the strict planning controls in most of Europe, mergers are one
> of the few ways of creating larger retail groups.
===================

12) 31/8/99 BBC ON-line US clashes with France on agriculture 
> The export of agricultural crops will be a major focus of trade talks 
> <Picture>
> US agriculture secretary Dan Glickman has hit back at French
> allegations that the United States seeks to dominate world food
> markets
> 
> He met French agriculture minister Jean Glavany at the sidelines of a
> meeting of the Cairns group of agricultural exporting nations in
> Buenos Aires, and offered him a Big Mac and fries. 
> 
> Mr Glavany had said that US multinationals like Monsanto and DuPont
> were seeking to "flood the world with their products, whether
> genetically-modified or not." 
> 
> The escalating rhetoric comes as preparations intensify for the next
> round of world trade talks, in which the abolition of agricultural
> subsidies is likely to figure prominently. 
> 
> Mr Glickman sought to defuse the controversy. 
> 
> "It's unfortunate when leaders engage in personal attacks on
> countries. I take these comments of hegemony and conspiracy as just
> the normal but unfortunate rhetoric that goes in world trade circles,"
> he said. 
> 
> Free-traders fall out 
> 
> The Cairns group, whose 15 members include Brazil, Argentina, Canada,
> Australia and Malaysia, has been seeking the support of the United
> States for an end to government agricultural subsidies and increased
> market access for agricultural products - goals which it failed to
> achieve in the last trade round. 
> 
> Mark Vaile, the Australian trade minister, said that the US "had
> offered to co-operate with the Cairns group in its efforts to secure
> far-reaching reform of global agricultural trade." 
> 
> The United States nevertheless was at loggerheads with its Cairns
> group partners over several issues. 
> 
> The US has criticised the role of state trading boards, such as the
> Australian Wheat Board and the Canadian Wheat Board, in marketing
> agricultural commodities. 
> 
> "The US would like to see some additional disciplines and
> transparencies in the operation of those export monopolies," said Tim
> Galvin of the US Foreign Agriculture Service. 
> 
> But Canadian agriculture minister Lyle Vanclief denied that the
> marketing boards distorted international trade. 
> 
> "It's been proven .. that they deal internationally in a squeaky-clean
> manner in respect of international trade law," he said. 
> 
> Meanwhile, Cairns group members criticised the United States for
> launching a $7.65bn emergency farm aid package, and for curbs on
> Australian and New Zealand lamb exports. 
> 
> Mr Glickman downplayed the disagreements and said that once the trade
> talks started in November their positions would be close.
=======================
13) UN commission on GE foods to create global guidelines  - The Codex
Alimentarius Commission, a UN body charged with developing
> global food quality standards, has created a new group to issue
> recommendations regarding genetically-engineered food. A preliminary
> report will be produced by 2001.
> 
> <Picture>Peruvian women apply fertilisers
> 
> Formation of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Food Derived from Biotechnology
> was proposed by Codex's Japanese representatives and the group will
> meet
> in Tokyo between 14 and 17 March 2000. There was some disagreement
> regarding the group's overall objectives, with some Codex delegations
> seeking a narrow set of aims concerned solely with GE foods' safety
> and
> nutrition while other delegations preferred a broader set of goals.
> It was decided that the group's objectives would be "to develop
> standards, guidelines or recommendations" and "to take full account of
> existing work carried out by national authorities, UN Food and
> Agriculture Organisation, the World Health Organisation and other
> international organisations..." A possible review or narrowing of the
> group's terms of reference may take place at the March 2000 meeting.
> The Codex Alimentarius Commission is a joint body of the UN Food and
> Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation. Membership
> comprises more than 160 countries. 
> 
>
<http://www.edie.net/news/Archive/1590.html>http://www.edie.net/news/Archive
/1590.html
===========
14) The Burlington (Vermont) Free Press -Saturday, August 28, 1999
Police: Corn vandalism may be political statement [no shit!]
The Associated Press

WELLS RIVER -- Vandals lopped off a 50-square foot section of corn plants
in a farm field in an act that police believe was a political statement.

Three large, brightly colored cutouts of monarch butterflies were placed in
the field and the vandals left a sign with a message opposing the use of Bt
corn, a genetically altered strain of the crop that is resistant to the
European corn borer, a common and costly pest.

Some recent studies have suggested that pollen from Bt corn is also toxic
to monarch caterpillars.

Vermont State Police Trooper Greg Campbell said no one has been charged in
the crime, though police have leads and are focusing on someone in the area.

The crime occurred Tuesday night. The most likely charges are unlawful
mischief or theft, both misdemeanors, Campbell said.

"I've never had a case like this," he said.

Chris Hill, the herdsman at Knoxland dairy farm in Wells River,
characterized the operation as "a very large, progressive farm. . . . We're
a high profile target."

The farm has 250 dairy cows and about 250 acres of corn. Knoxland's three
locations have a total of 1,000 cows and 540 acres of corn. Campbell said
about half of Knox's crop is Bt corn and the remainder is not genetically
altered.

Bt corn is engineered to contain a naturally occurring bacteria called
Bacillus thuringiensis that is deadly to the corn borer and other insect
larvae.

Before the strain of corn was released in 1996, farmers used insecticides
to control the corn borer population. Environmental activists became
concerned about the genetically engineered Bt corn after results of a
Cornell University study were published in May, said Rebecca Goldburg of
the Environmental Defense Fund in New York.

The laboratory study found that half the monarch caterpillars in the study
died after being exposed to pollen from Bt corn. Those that survived were
stunted.

"We view vandalism as an inappropriate response, though we have concerns
about Bt corn," said Goldburg, a senior scientist with the defense fund.
===============
15) Thanks to Patricia Dines <73652.1202@compuserve.com> for posting the
following websites with common questions on GE.

Patricia Dines says: Please feel free to forward to others who you think
this will interest.

Here's the address of the page on the UCS site that shows the genetically
engineered (GE) crops OKd for commercial use in the U.S. as of 12/98. (Note
- It is likely that there have been additional crops OK'd this year, as
well as crops being grown under experimental status.) This list is useful
for farmers, gardeners, etc. who want to know what SEEDS might be GE.

<http://www.ucsusa.org/Gene/w98.market.html>http://www.ucsusa.org/Gene/w98.
market.html

For consumers, who often have questions like "what foods in the SUPERMARKET
might be GE?", is this great page on the Mothers for Natural Law site -

<http://www.safe-food.org/-consumer/foods.html>http://www.safe-food.org/-co
nsumer/foods.html

As these are common questions, I thought it might be useful to forward the
exact website addresses for this info, so we can save people the time of
trying to find it on their own, getting them right to the pertinent info!

You might also be interested to know that I have pulled together a longer
and updated  list of great GE resources on my website, at
<<http://www.monitor.net/%7Ecap/ge.html>http://www.monitor.net/~cap/ge.html>. 
Please feel free to check it out,
send me any comments you might have, pass the address along to others,
and/or put it on your website.

Note: A number of the organizations receiving this email will note that
they are included on my GE webpage.  Also note that we have a more general
resources page at
<<http://www.monitor.net/%7Ecap/resources.html>www.monitor.net/~cap/resource
s.html> where you might be
included and which offers more wonderful resources too.

I hope this information is useful -

Best regards -

Patricia Dines
Community Action Publications
<http://www.monitor.net/%7Ecap>http://www.monitor.net/~cap