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WTO ruling - "No change to de facto European ban on GMOs"
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute panel has concluded in an interim report that the six-year moratorium on the approval of new GMOs for import into the EU (which occurred while the European Union was revising its regulations on GMOs) was against international trade rules - as are the national bans of various European countries on approved GMOs.
The Soil Association condemns the US, Canada and Argentina for attempting to use trade rules to force GM food and crops onto Europe.1 However, the WTO ruling should have little impact on Europe's acceptance of GMOs or its current regulations.
After they started growing GM crops, the US lost $ 300 million of annual exports of maize to Europe and Canada lost its C$ 300 million annual exports of oilseed rape to Europe. They argued this was due to Europe's restrictions on GM imports. In fact, this trade was lost because of the overwhelming market rejection of GMOs since 1999 by European supermarkets and food manufacturers in response to the strong consumer opposition to GMOs. Given this overriding and remaining public and market resistance, the WTO's ruling is of little real significance.
Gundula Azeez, Policy Manager, said:
"The public can rest assured that this ruling does not change the fact that in Europe it is the consumer and not the WTO who decides whether there is any market for N. American GM produce. The European Commission must refuse to pay any compensation to these countries. They have wilfully insisted on producing something for which there is no market, and are deluded if they think this ruling will change that.
The public is right to continue to reject GM food. Emerging scientific evidence from recent animal feeding trials show a range of unpredicted negative impacts on health from eating GMOs.
Currently, the only significant market for GMOs in Europe is as animal feed, as produce from GM-fed animals does not have to be labelled. The only certain way to avoid such products is to buy organic food".