Grassley presses EU on biotech approvals

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2015 - Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to the president of the European Commission on Tuesday, asking him to complete the regulatory process for eight biotechnology products pending before the EC. The European Commission is the executive arm of the EU.

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The products, which include soy, maize, rapeseed and cotton, have already received positive safety reviews from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and are awaiting final import authorization from the European Union's College of Commissioners.

In the letter to EC President Jose Manuel Barroso, Grassley pointed out the World Trade Organization (WTO) requires the European Union to make a final decision regarding the products' authorization.

“The European Union and the United States enjoy a productive trading relationship. These seemingly deliberate delays signal a lack of commitment to established WTO requirements,” Grassley said in the letter.

In a call with reporters, Grassley accused the EU of “dragging their feet” and said that in the midst of negotiating a trade deal between the U.S. and EU - the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - “It's issues like this that don't produce much confidence for the future of that trade agreement.”

“If they want an agreement they've got to take these things into consideration because this is going to build confidence that they really want to negotiate in good faith,” Grassley said.

Several farm, grain trade, and biotechnology associations wrote a similar letter to U.S. Trade Representative USTR Mike Froman in August.

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