WTO RULES ON EU-US TRADE WAR ON GM FOODS
MEPs have warned the EU and US not to mislead the public by misusing the
final ruling of the WTO into their long-running trade dispute over GM foods.
Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas said the judgement criticised the EU’s
now-defunct GM ban but fell well short of backing the US position.
“Pro- and anti- GM campaigners have claimed this ruling supports their case:
but in reality this is a complex ruling that backs neither party
completely,” she said.
“This ruling criticises the way the EU went about keeping GM imports off its
citizens’ dinner plates, but not the fact that it wanted to do so.”
The judgement, which is due to be formally delivered today, 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.
Dr Lucas, a member of the European Parliament’s influential Environment
Committee, and Green Party Principal Speaker, said the complaint was a
direct assault on those citizens and policy-makers who remain concerned
about the health, environmental and social impact of GM crops.
She said: “Bringing this case was an attempt to force open our markets –
that is, our grocers’ shelves – to GM imports from the US.
“Today’s ruling effectively sees off a deliberate attempt by the US and the
agri-business industry to gain access to EU markets and fire a warning shot
across the bows of developing nations who are leaning towards an anti-GM
But Dr Lucas said the WTO should be replaced by an agreement to consider
environmental, health and other social impacts of international trade
“The WTO is a secretive and anti-democratic body and, whatever the merits of
today’s decision, it must never 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,” she added.
“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 farming sectors.”