Updated Issue Brief on U.S.-EU Trade Dispute over Genetically Modified Crops Released by Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology

Contact: Mona Miller, 202.552.2135

Washington, D.C. - 12/16/2005 - In light of a decision expected soon by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the U.S. challenge to the European Union (EU) policy on genetically modified (GM) foods, the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology has updated its brief on the trade dispute between the U.S. and the EU over agricultural biotechnology. Events prompting this update include:

  • In 2004, new EU laws went into effect providing for the approval of GM crops, as well as GM food and feed, and establishing new requirements for labeling and traceability. Since then, the European Commission has moved through a lengthy process to approve several GM crops in addition to food and feeds derived from GM crops.    
  • In June 2005, a qualified majority of the Council of Ministers refused to lift certain EU member state bans on GM products that had been approved by the Commission, creating new doubts about the viability of an EU-wide policy on GM crops, food and feed.    
  • A decision is expected in January 2006, from a trade panel of the World Trade Organization, on a challenge initiated in 2003 by the U.S. on the EU’s de facto moratorium on the approval of GM crops.
These and other developments are discussed in a revised and expanded version of U.S. vs. EU: An Examination of the Trade Issues Surrounding Genetically Modified Food, a brief originally published by the Pew Initiative in June 2002 and updated in August 2003.

The new issue brief provides:

  • An overview of the history of the dispute between the U.S. and the EU over GM foods and crops.    
  • Estimates of the impacts that the EU de facto moratorium on GM crop approvals has had on U.S. trade    
  • A timeline of critical events relevant to U.S.-EU agricultural biotechnology trade issues.    
  • A status report of GM crops and food in the EU and a summary of current EU regulations and its approval process.

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