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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

EU Citizens Will Decide on GM, Not US/WTO Bullying

Immediate release (7 Feb 2006)

Calls to Pete Riley on 07903 341 065

The US, supported by Argentina and Canada, lodged a complaint against Europe’s precautionary approach to GM in May 2003 at the World Trade Organisation. The case accuses Europe of undue delay in approving new GM products and of unscientific bans of certain crops. The interim decision is set to be sent to the parties today.

The ruling puts the spotlight on the US and the WTO, accused of using bullying tactics to persuade the EU to ignore the demands of their citizens and force acceptance of unwanted products on to the market. This case also damages the credibility of the WTO which is seen as a secretive, unelected body with enormous powers that puts the financial interests of large corporations above public, health and environmental concerns.

European citizens have consistently voiced their preference for non-GM food, their concerns about the possible health and environmental impacts and have expressed a lack of trust in the corporations developing them. The EU responded by strengthening the labelling and traceability regulations to partly address these concerns, which led to a moratorium on approvals until the process was complete.

The US claims that as a result of the delays their farmers have lost millions of dollars from the EU market. However, it was consumer rejection of GM technology in food that closed the market to GM food in Europe, and the WTO case will only make consumers more suspicious. The ruling will not restore a market that never existed in the first place.

Carrie Stebbings from GM Freeze said:

The US often claims to be the world leader in the principles of democracy and free trade. They promote free trade around the world but they don’t seem to have grasped the basic principles of supply and demand. There is no viable market for GM in Europe but US farmers could win back their market share by producing non-GM food that people actually want to eat.

Calls to Pete Riley on 07903 341 065.