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BIO Applauds USTR for Standing Up for Ag Innovation and Sound Science

U.S. Government and 16 like-minded WTO Members Call for
Implementation of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement

Washington, D.C. (December 14, 2017) – The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) is applauding efforts by the United States Government and other World Trade Organization (WTO) members for committing to strengthen the implementation and application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement).  

Seventeen Trade Ministers signed a joint statement aimed at enhancing farmers’ access to technology and tools to better feed a growing global population. 

“The challenges facing our world’s farmers are more complex than ever before,” said Joseph Damond, BIO’s Executive Vice President of International Affairs. “They need modern innovative solutions to overcome environmental threats and to increase productivity so they can sustainably produce the world’s food, fuel and fiber.”

BIO points to one example:  Science writer Matt Ridley wrote in The Times about the challenges facing African farmers because of rapid spread of the fall armyworm. While millions of farmers around the world plant Bt maize, which is resistant to the armyworm, African farmers are forbidden from growing the genetically modified Bt maize, largely due to political pressure from anti-technology groups.

“Biotechnology and biology-based innovation hold the key to helping farmers around the world – especially small farmers in developing countries - while safeguarding human, animal and plant health,” said Damond. “But the lack of predictability and increased barriers to trade stifle innovation and keep important tools out of farmers’ hands.” 

“We applaud U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his counterparts for their call to strengthen the implementation and application of the SPS Agreement to ensure these measures are science-based and do not disrupt trade of food and agricultural products.”