WTO JUDGEMENT RULES EU GM-BAN ‘UNLAWFUL’
RULING DELIVERS ‘DEMOCRATIC COUP’, WARNS MEP
CONSUMER and environmental groups have been left reeling after the World
Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled the EU’s reluctance to authorise GM foods
broke trade rules – and is illegal under international law.
The judgement, which was delivered to EU officials yesterday but will not
officially be made public until after the EU responds later this year,
delivers a ‘democratic coup’, forcing not only the EU but – perhaps even
more significantly, as the EU has effectively ended its de facto moratorium
- developing nations to abandon any objections to GM crops.
It follows nearly two years of deliberation since a group of GM-growing
nations including Canada and Argentina and led by the US, lodged a formal
complaint at the WTO, claiming the EU’s de facto ban on new GM crops was
preventing the free trade of GM derived foodstuffs and therefore unlawful
under WTO rules.
Euro-MP Caroline Lucas, a member of the European Parliament’s influential
Environment Committee, said the decision was a twin-pronged assault on those
citizens and policy-makers who remain concerned about the health,
environmental and social impact of GM crops.
She said: “By ruling against the EU, the WTO’s dispute panel has effectively
forced open our markets – that is, our grocers’ shelves – to GM imports from
“But perhaps worse, it has ruled that free trade should take precedence over
the precautionary principle and the democratic right to regulate for the
protection of either health or the environment.”
“Today’s ruling threatens represents a democratic coup from the WTO in a
deliberate attempt by the US and the agri-business industry to extract
compensation from the EU and fire a warning shot across the bows of
developing nations who are leaning towards an anti-GM position.
“The WTO is a secretive and anti-democratic body and its judgement must not
be allowed to ride roughshod over the clearly stated democratic wishes of
the majority of EU citizens – and those living in the developing world – who
want to keep GMOs out of their environment and off their dinner plates.
“Despite the WTO decision, Greens in the European Parliament will keep
pushing for GM-free zones across the EU – and work to protect local
democracy, consumer health, biodiversity and the growing organic and non-GM