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American Soybean Association (ASA) reports:

The European Union (EU) Farm Council voted Friday not to approve Syngenta's Agrisure - MIR604 biotech-enhanced corn, traces of which were found in some EU export bound U.S. soybean and soymeal shipments earlier this summer.

Because neither a qualified majority of EU Member States voted in favor or against approval of the biotech corn event, the decision whether to provide approval now moves to the EU Commission. It is hoped that the EU Commission will issue approval quickly based of the positive safety assessment already issued by the EU's own food safety agency.

EU Commission approval would allow U.S. soy shipments to the EU to resume because shippers, at least for now, would no longer face the risk that a few traces of an EU-unapproved corn event could be found in a shipment of U.S. soybeans or soybean meal.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) has urged the European Commission to find a workable and commercially viable solution to the EU's zero tolerance for the low level presence of EU-unapproved biotech events. European livestock and feed industries, along with U.S. growers, all have been advocating for a workable solution due to the EU's slow and politically-influenced biotech approval process that results in European biotech reviews and approvals taking over twice as long as science-based reviews and approvals in the rest of the world, including the United States.

The ASA and European feed and livestock industries believe a partial practical solution to this problem is for the EU to permit the low level presence of a biotech trait that has undergone regulatory review and received safety clearances in the country of export. The other part of the solution is for the EU to greatly improve the timeliness of its approval system and ensure that its approval process is wholly science-based.

The EU is the fourth largest export market for U.S. soybeans, representing sales of more than $1 billion in 2007. To avoid disruption of trade and resulting negative impacts on EU livestock production, ASA is advocating practical and sensible tolerance level solutions be found to ensure that there are no unwarranted barriers to trade.

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