BIO Supports U.S. Government in WTO Case Against EU on Agricultural Biotechnology Products

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Monday, January 14, 2008) - Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Greenwood today issued the following statement regarding the World Trade Organization’s  case against the European Union on biotechnology approvals:

“In November 2006, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel affirmed that international trading rules clearly apply to agricultural products of modern biotechnology, and that regulatory systems must be science-based.  The panel also concluded that the European Union (EU) operated a de facto moratorium on approvals of new biotechnology products.  The biotechnology industry is disappointed to see that after14 months the EU has failed to implement the recommendations and rulings of the panel in a manner consistent with its WTO obligations, and still has significant delays in approving biotech crops for import and cultivation.  

“BIO and its members support the U.S. government in its efforts to end this continued impasse.  The biotechnology industry strongly supports a science-based regulatory system for products of agricultural biotechnology.  It is BIO’s belief that the EU does not have a functioning science-based regulatory system for reviewing crops and foods improved through biotechnology.  This science-based regulatory system is necessary to fulfill the EU’s WTO obligations, and our industry supports U.S. government efforts to resolve the WTO dispute on Europe’s biotech approval moratorium. 

“The biotechnology industry applauds the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in working to ensure that member countries honor their international obligations and commitments.  BIO members believe it is of the highest importance to uphold the rule of law in general, and support the rules-based system of international trade that countries throughout the world have jointly developed over the past 50 years.
“Resolution of this issue is important to farmers around the world employing modern farm practices.  The EU moratorium has blocked U.S. agricultural exports to the detriment of America’s farmers and agribusinesses, and has also prevented European farmers from benefitting from the technology.

“Biotech crops have tremendous potential to reduce the environmental impact of farming.  By growing biotech crops, farmers reduce the consumption of fuel and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reduce the need for plowing to control weeds, which leads to better conservation of soil and water, and a decrease in soil erosion and compaction.

BIO represents more than 1,150 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology technologies. BIO also produces the annual BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.

Upcoming BIO Events

 ·   BIO-Asia Partnering Conference 
    January 28-29, 2008
    Tokyo, Japan

 ·   BIO CEO & Investor Conference 
    February 11-13, 2008
    New York, NY

 ·   Partnering for Global Health  
    March 10-12, 2008
    Washington, DC

 ·   BIO-Europe Spring 
    April 7-9, 2008
    Madrid, Spain

 ·   BIO National Venture Conference 
    April 22-23, 2008
    Boston, Mass.

 ·   World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing  
    April 27-30, 2008
    Chicago, Ill.

 ·   2008 BIO International Convention 
    June 17-20, 2008
    San Diego, Calif.

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About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.