WTO rules for U.S., other countries against EU’s biotech crop moratorium
The World Trade Organization, in its longest report ever, ruled in favor of the United States and numerous other countries against the European Union’s moratorium on approving agricultural biotech products.
“After eight years of legal wrangling and stalling by Europe, we are a step closer to clearing barriers faced by U.S. agricultural producers and expanding global use of promising advances in food production,” said U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab in a statement on Friday.
The United States brought a WTO challenge in May 2003, after five years of delays by the EU to comply with WTO rules.
The WTO case also challenged product bans imposed by six EU member countries: Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg.
American grain shippers praised the WTO’s decision, but urged the Bush administration to keep pressure on the EU.
“This favorable WTO ruling should only be seen as step one of the actions against Europe’s unjustified and unscientific policies toward biotechnology,” said Rick Ostlie, president of the American Soybean Association.
“I urge the EU to fully comply with its WTO obligations, and consider all outstanding biotech product applications, and evaluate their scientific merits in accordance with the EU’s own laws, without undue delay,” Schwab said.