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EU Steadfast in Rejecting Genetically Engineered Food, Despite WTO Pressure

Feb. 7, 2006

GM WATCH daily
http://www.gmwatch.org

---
1.Greenpeace dismisses WTO ruling on GMOs
2.Biotech industry hails WTO ruling

WTO RULING - GM WATCH COMMENT

Sometimes you have to agree to differ. Europe has done that with the U.S.
over Iraq, over Kyoto, over the International Criminal Court, over US
antipathy to the UN, over the torture of prisoners and extraordinary
rendition, over hormone-laced beef and over GMOs. And those leaders, like
Tony Blair, who have sought to go along with the U.S., are widely - and
rightly - despised.

EXCERPT: Despite the ongoing [WTO] case in Geneva, European governments
voted with a clear majority in 2005 to retain existing national bans on GMOs
and individual countries continue to reject GMOs. Greece last week announced
an extension of its ban on seeds from a type of GM maize produced by
Monsanto. Austria also recently announced its intention to ban the import of
a GM oilseed rape. These bans, in addition to those imposed last year by
Hungary and Poland, 172 regions in Europe which have declared themselves
GMO-free zones, and a Swiss moratorium decided by public referendum, show
that Europe is steadfast in rejecting GMOs.

"U.S agro-chemical giants will not sell a bushel more of their GM grain as a
result of the WTO ruling. European consumers, farmers and a growing number
of governments remain opposed to GMOs, and this will not change - in Europe
or globally."
---
1.Greenpeace dismisses WTO ruling on GMOs
http://www.eubusiness.com/press/greenpeace.2006-02-07

Greenpeace tonight dismissed as irrelevant a WTO ruling that reportedly
backs the US, Canada and Argentina in their efforts to force Europe to
accept genetically modified organisms (GMOs); according to first press
reports, the WTO decided that EU national bans contravened trade rules. The
environmental organisation considers that just as the WTO case did not
challenge EU laws designed to protect the environment, it could not be used
to undermine existing international agreements on biosafety.

"U.S agro-chemical giants will not sell a bushel more of their GM grain as a
result of the WTO ruling. European consumers, farmers and a growing number
of governments remain opposed to GMOs, and this will not change - in Europe
or globally," said Daniel Mittler, Greenpeace International trade advisor.
"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."

"This verdict only proves that the WTO puts trade interests above all others
and is unqualified to deal with complex scientific and environmental issues.
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," said
Daniel Mittler.

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.

Despite the ongoing case in Geneva, European governments voted with a clear
majority in 2005 to retain existing national bans on GMOs and individual
countries continue to reject GMOs. Greece last week announced an extension
of its ban on seeds from a type of GM maize produced by Monsanto. Austria
also recently announced its intention to ban the import of a GM oilseed
rape. These bans, in addition to those imposed last year by Hungary and
Poland, 172 regions in Europe which have declared themselves GMO-free zones,
and a Swiss moratorium decided by public referendum, show that Europe is
steadfast in rejecting GMOs.

EU legislation on the approval and labelling of GMOs is not at stake and
will remain unaffected by the outcome of the WTO case.
Greenpeace European Unit campaigns for the environment by exposing deficient
EU policies and laws, and challenging EU decision-makers to implement
progressive solutions.

Greenpeace European Unit
---
2.Biotech industry hails WTO ruling
Reuters, 8/2/06
By Jeremy Smith
http://seven.com.au/news/topstories/141974

US biotech industry groups have hailed a world trade ruling condemning the
European Union over its policy on genetically modified (GMO) crops and
foods.

Green groups have blasted it as a direct attack on democracy.

In a keenly awaited confidential judgment, the World Trade Organisation said
the EU applied an effective moratorium on GMO imports for six years from
1998 - illegal under WTO rules.

Six EU countries also broke trade rules by slapping their own bans on
marketing and importing GMO products that had already won EU-wide approval,
according to diplomats who had seen the finding issued by the Geneva-based
trade body.

"If confirmed, the verdict seems to be pretty unambiguous," said Christian
Verschueren, director-general of CropLife International, representing the
global plant science industry.

"It seems to send a clear signal that any measures to protect animal, human
and plant health have to be based on sound science," he told Reuters.

"We hope that ... we gradually gain more political clarity within the EU,
and get the regulatory machine working more effectively than it has done."

The complaint was filed against the EU in 2003 by Argentina, Canada and the
United States - all major growers of GMO crops such as soy and maize.

US farmers say the EU ban cost them $US300 million ($A404.8 million) a year
in lost sales while it was in effect since many US agricultural products,
including most US corn, were effectively barred from entering EU markets.

Europe's shoppers are known for their wariness towards GMO products, often
dubbed as "Frankenstein foods" or "Frankenfoods".

But the biotech industry insists that its products are perfectly safe and
say Europe's hostility is unfounded.

Green groups were disappointed by the findings, saying the months of
waiting, and many delays, in the WTO biotech case had already made Europe
take a much more proactive stance on approving GMOs than warranted by the
poor consumer demand for modified foods.

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

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

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This GMO news service is underwritten by a generous grant from the Newman's
Own Foundation, edited by Thomas Wittman and is a production of the
Ecological Farming Association www.eco-farm.org <http://www.eco-farm.org/>
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