Sean Darragh, Executive Vice President for Food and Agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), released the following statement regarding on the World Trade Organization’s interim report issued today on the European Union's failure to approve new biotech crops.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 7, 2006) --“News reports indicate a favorable outcome in the case to reopen Europe’s markets to crops improved through biotechnology. Although we have not reviewed the report, we believe that the United States, Argentina and Canada had sound legal basis in asking the World Trade Organization to determine if the European Union was in violation of its trade obligations by failing to approve new biotech crops in a timely manner.
“Resolution of this issue is important to farmers around the world. The European Union’s inaction has effectively blocked up to $300 million of U.S. agricultural exports annually to the detriment of American farmers. Globally, more than eight million farmers in 21 countries have already adopted biotech crops. They have grown them on more than a billion acres in the past ten years, and have reaped the benefits of increased productivity and environmental sustainability.
“The U.S. biotechnology industry continues to support a science-based regulatory process to ensure that farmers around the globe have access to biotech crops. Regardless of the outcome of the WTO dispute settlement case, BIO members, in cooperation with their EU counterparts, will continue to work diligently with EU officials to establish a scientific, timely, rules-based review and approval system for agricultural biotechnology products.”
BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
Note to editors: Fact sheets on this issue from the United States Trade Representative can be viewed at: