Farm groups seek EU biotech approvals

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2014-- In letters sent this week to the European Commission and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), several agricultural organizations asked that the European Union (EU) take action in September on nine biotechnology products.

The products, which include soy, maize, rapeseed and cotton, have all already received positive safety reviews from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and are awaiting final import authorization from the EU's College of Commissioners., the 19 farm, grain trade, and biotechnology associations wrote. 

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In a letter to USTR Ambassador Michael Froman, the groups asked the Administration to contact EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to ensure action on the pending events in September. The letter also said the EU has obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) to make timely regulatory decisions on new biotechnology applications.

In the letter to the EU Commission, the groups said “some of the products have been before the European Commission since the end of 2013 and were submitted to EFSA more than five years ago,” the letter stated.

“Several of these products are already being commercialized under stewardship programs in the U.S. and elsewhere, and failure to approve them at the meeting of the College of Commissioners in September will increase the risk of trade disruptions during the coming months,” they said.

The groups also said delays could cause feed shortages and price increases, which would affect European producers, traders, livestock industry and consumers.

The letters' signatories include:

Agricultural Retailers of America

American Farm Bureau Federation

American Seed Trade Association

American Society of Sugar Beet Technologists

American Soybean Association

American Sugarbeet Growers Association

Beet Sugar Development Foundation

Biotechnology Industry Organization

Corn Refiners Association

National Association of Wheat Growers

National Corn Growers Association

National Grain and Feed Association

National Oilseed Processors Association

North American Export Grain Association

U.S. Beet Sugar Association

U.S. Canola Association

U.S. Grains Council

U.S. Soybean Export Council

U.S. Wheat Associates

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