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 WTO Likely to Attempt to Force GMOs on Europe 
by Organic Consumers Association - 1/4/2006

In a similar WTO case, the U.S. prevailed against Europe’s ban on hormone-treated U.S. beef. Yet while the U.S. “won” the beef-hormone dispute < in 1999, Europe has still not opened its markets to U.S. beef. The beef hormone and GE food cases show that in a global market, the U.S. will have more success selling its agricultural products by focusing on providing food that global consumers want to buy, rather than trying to shove whatever farmers produce down foreign throats regardless of consumer demand.

The Bush Administration’s attempts to bully the world into eating unwanted GE food through its aggressive trade practices will only further cement global consumers’ choice to avoid GE food from the U.S., and thus further harm U.S. farm and food export interests. We regret the course the Administration has taken in pursuing this global food fight, and suggest that the interests of Monsanto and other GE crop producers should no longer dictate our policies on food trade or food production. Instead, policy should be aimed toward providing Americans and our export customers with the kind of safe, healthy, sustainably-produced food that they want to eat. Regardless of the outcome of the decision of the U.S. case at the WTO, the global battle over GE food will only end when the Administration learns the basic economic lesson, “the customer is always right.”


In January 2006, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is expected to rule on a Bush Administration challenge to European rejection of genetically engineered (GE) food. Last month, rumors circulated that the U.S. and its allies Canada and Argentina will prevail at the WTO . However, the U.S. case does not challenge Europe’s labeling or traceability regulations, but focuses on the E.U.’s suspension from 1998 through 2004 of approvals of new GE varieties. The WTO case will have no impact on the European and global consumer rejection that is the ultimate basis for U.S. lost markets. As the U.S. Congressional Research Service stated, a WTO ruling in favor of the U.S. would open Europe “to few if any significant GE imports.”

If it has any effect, a WTO “victory” for the U.S. will only further entrench Europe and the rest of the world in their insistence for
regulations to protect consumers and the environment from the risks of genetically engineered foods. In the U.S., GE foods are not labeled and safety testing is voluntary. The Bush Administration hoped its WTO case against Europe would dissuade other countries from regulating GE foods, but much of the world has already imposed tougher safety and labeling rules on GE food, and have developed international standards to withstand WTO challenges.

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Provided by Organic Consumers Association on 1/4/2006
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