Post-Moratorium EU Regulation of Genetically Modified Products: Trade Concerns
Trade in genetically modified (GM) products remains a major issue in agricultural trade policy. In particular, the European Union has sought to deny market access to GM-products. In the wake of a WTO case brought by Canada and the US, among others, against an import ban imposed on genetically modified agricultural products by the European Union (EU) – which the EU lost – the import ban was dropped and the EU put in place a new regulatory regime for GM-products. The EU suggests that the post-moratorium regulatory regime is compliant with its WTO obligations. As of June 2011, the operation of this new import regime has not been formally assessed. The first GM-crops are just now working their way through the post-moratorium regulatory system and an assessment of the operation of the regime is timely. The results of this assessment suggest that the EU’s approval system is only partially based in science and thus is not in conformity with its SPS obligations under the WTO. Hence, the new EU regulatory regime could be challenged through a WTO Disputes panel.
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