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American ShipperShipping

U.S. ag groups seek faster EU approval for biotech imports

Agricultural trade associations want European food safety commission to approve import authorizations for 13 new biotechnology products.

   A dozen large U.S. agricultural trade groups have asked the European Health and Food Safety Commission to speed up its process for consideration of draft import authorizations for 13 new biotechnology products.
   The import authorizations, some of which have been awaiting the commission’s approval for more than a year, include products such as soybeans, corn, canola and cotton.
   “All of these products have received positive European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientific assessments and have been considered by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health and the Appeals Committee,” the groups wrote. “Timely action by the European Commission will avoid the risk of disruption to the essential supply of feedstocks needed by the EU’s livestock, poultry and feed industries, which are more than 70 percent dependent on imported protein.” 
   The last import authorizations for new biotech crops were issued by the European Commission in November 2013.
   In the letter, the groups also urged the health and food safety commission to respect the European Union’s obligations under the World Trade Organization with regard to timelier biotech deregulation decisions, which were reaffirmed by the WTO in a 2006 dispute settlement decision that found that the European Union was not complying with its international obligations to consider import authorizations on a timely basis.
   The groups that signed the letter include the Agricultural Retailers Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cotton Council, American Seed Trade Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, American Soybean Association, U.S. Canola Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, U.S. Grains Council, Corn Refiners Association, U.S. Soybean Export Council, and National Association of Wheat Growers.

Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.

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