Mixed Signals on Biotech from EU

Cindy Zimmerman

euMixed signals regarding biotech crops coming from the European Union last week have left representatives of the agriculture community shaking their heads.

First the EU announced it would allow member nations to ban the import of food and feed containing biotech ingredients, and then a few days later announced the approval of 17 biotech traits for import.

“I’m just characterizing it as flat goofy,” said American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman. “Doing business that way is going to make it very difficult for us to do a transatlantic trade agreement with them.”

National Corn Growers Association public policy director Zach Kinne says the opt out policy for EU nations creates a lot of uncertainty going forward. “It would really just be a nightmare when you look at the supply chain and importing of the crops that we produce,” he said, adding that other major exporting countries like Argentina and Brazil are also expressing concerns. “Hopefully we’ll see them withdraw that.”

American Soybean Association first vice president Richard Wilkins of Delaware says the opt out policy would definitely have a negative impact on US soy trade with the EU, but the trait approval news is very positive. “The deregulation of the four soybean biotech events that we’ve been waiting for means that we can now move towards full commercialization of high oleic soybeans.”

During NAFB Washington Watch this week, Spencer Chase with Agri-Pulse interviewed all three of these representatives. Interview with Bob Stallman, AFBF Interview with Zach Kinne, NCGA Interview with Richard Wilkins, ASA

AFBF, ASA, Audio, Biotech, Exports, International, NCGA