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USTR Expresses Concern over EU Proposal to Allow Member States to Ban the Use of GE Food and Feed Deemed Safe by EU

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today expressed disappointment at the new proposal by the European Commission to amend legislation on its genetically-engineered (GE) food and feed approval process to allow EU countries to ignore science-based safety and environmental determinations made by the European Union and “opt out” of imports of GE food and feed. 

“We are very disappointed by today's announcement of a regulatory proposal that appears hard to reconcile with the EU's international obligations. Moreover, dividing the EU into 28 separate markets for the circulation of certain products seems at odds with the EU's goal of deepening the internal market. At a time when the U.S. and the EU are working to create further opportunities for growth and jobs through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, proposing this kind of trade restrictive action is not constructive."
 

Background

In 2006, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel found that EU member-state bans on import and cultivation of GE products violated WTO rules, because the safeguards were not based on risk assessments.  Since then, the U.S. has been working to normalize agricultural trade with the EU.

In 2014, the United States exported a record-high $155.1 billion of agricultural exports to the world, supporting over a million American jobs.

This decision could impact the exports and economies, of countries around the world. In 2014, the EU imported a total of 3.1 billion Euros of potentially affected products from United States, Argentina, Brazil and Canada.  Regulatory uncertainty in the EU has the potential to unnecessarily restrict trade in these products.