U.S., E.U. Face Off On Biotech

Published online: May 13, 2003
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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman along with U.S. trade officials will file a case in the World Trade Organization against the European Union over its illegal moratorium against biotech products.

Veneman isn’t alone is the matter. Third parties in the case include: Australia, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Uruguay.

The E.U. has had a five-year moratorium on approving agriculture biotech products, which violates WTO’s rules.

Many world biotech experts, 20 Nobel Laureates and over 3,200 scientists have signed a declaration in support of the challenge.

U.S. Trade Rep. Robert B. Zoellick says people around the world have been eating biotech food for years. Biotech food helps nourish and the world’s hungry population, offers tremendous opportunities for better health and nutrition and protects the environment by reducing soil erosion and pesticide use.

“The European Union’s persistent resistance to abiding by its WTO obligations has perpetuated a trade barrier unwarranted by the EC’s own scientific analysis. This impedes the global use of a technology that could be of great benefit to farmers and consumers around the world,” he said.

Following the announcement, many U.S. agriculture and food organizations have voiced their support for the WTO challenge.