Canada and European Communities End WTO Biotech Dispute

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wednesday, July 15, 2009) - Canada and the European Communities announced the end of a six-year World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute regarding the approval and marketing of biotechnology products.  

Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, Executive Vice President, Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement in response:  

“While it is a good sign to see that Canadian canola growers have gained some access for their exports, the European Union’s approval system for agricultural biotechnology products continues to be broken.  It is plagued by political interference, undue delay and member state prohibitions.  

“There are now 70 products awaiting approvals – compared to 40 last year.  There are no new cultivation approvals – in fact – France and Germany have imposed cultivation bans within the past two years.  In addition, biotech corn is still not moving into the EU.  

“This situation impedes U.S. trade, despite the well-documented safety of agricultural biotechnology which has produced real results towards increasing crop yields, reducing production inputs and enhancing environmental sustainability.  

“The EU’s non-functioning biotech approval process has blocked U.S. agricultural exports to the detriment of American farmers and agribusiness, but also has prevented European farmers from benefiting from modern technologies that are used in 25 countries by 13.3 million farmers around the world.   

“Trade problems will continue to exist until Europe has a science-based, timely and predictable approval process, which could be achieved if the EU simply followed its own laws and regulations.  

“We urge the European Commission to normalize trade of products produced through biotechnology in a timely and science-based manner.”

Upcoming BIO Events

World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing
July 19-22, 2009
Montreal, Quebec, Canada 

BIO Investor Forum
October 28-29, 2009
San Francisco, CA

Advanced Business Development Course
October 30, 2009
Vienna, Austria

BIO Europe International Partnering Conference
November 2-4, 2009
Vienna, Austria

Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
November 8-11, 2009
Honolulu, HI 

About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,200 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.