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U.S. OFFICIALS CRITICIZE EU'S BIOTECH APPROVAL PROCESS AT WTO MEETING
Agri-Pulse reports:

The Chinese roadblocks to international approval for genetically modified plants are only slightly more frustrating to U.S. farmers and biotech companies than those of the European Union.

U.S. officials took the opportunity at a World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body meeting Saturday to rail against the EU's increasingly complex and bureaucratic approval process that U.S. industry officials say has become politicized.

U.S. officials were especially critical of the EU process that allows individual members to "opt out" of final approval for biotech traits even after they have been shown to be safe.

"Even when the EU finally approves a biotech product, the EU has facilitated the ability of individual EU member states to impose bans on the supposedly approved product," the U.S. said in a statement at the meeting in Geneva.
The EU strenuously disagreed with the U.S. statement and stressed that just because some countries in the bloc do not allow planting of approved seeds does not translate into a "ban."

U.S. ag industry representatives say the EU process has continued to bog down over the last several years, extending the average approval time from 18 months to about four years.


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