EU Plan Would Allow Countries to Ban Biotech

Cindy ZimmermanASA, biotechnology, trade

european-commA new proposal by the European Commission which would allow member countries to ban the import of food and feed containing biotech ingredients, causing a concern for U.S. agricultural interests.

“We are very disappointed by today’s announcement of a regulatory proposal that appears hard to reconcile with the EU’s international obligations,” said United States Trade Representative Michael Froman. “Moreover, dividing the EU into 28 separate markets for the circulation of certain products seems at odds with the EU’s goal of deepening the internal market. At a time when the U.S. and the EU are working to create further opportunities for growth and jobs through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, proposing this kind of trade restrictive action is not constructive.”

American Soybean Association Vice President Richard Wilkins of Delaware expressed concerns about the impact of the plan on EU’s existing international trade obligations as well as the ongoing T-TIP negotiations. “The World Trade Organization has ruled against the EU for not operating a timely and science-based approval process, and today’s decision would create new WTO violations by allowing member states to restrict these imports based on something as trivial as political or popular whims,” said Wilkins. “We believe this proposal, if finalized, would negatively impact U.S. soy trade with the EU.”

The proposal still must be adopted by the 28 EU member states and the EU parliament, but no timeline has been set for that.