US \"very concerned\" over EU stance on GMOs
BRUSSELS - A senior U.S. official said last week that Washington regarded a recent European parliament vote on tough labelling rules for genetically modified products as a step in the wrong direction.
The United States has long been pushing for the European Union to admit genetically-modified agricultural goods onto the European market. The European parliament\'s tough new labelling laws come on top of a current EU moratorium on authorising the sale or cultivation of GM crops.
\"I am very concerned about the state of play on trade in agricultural bio-technology products,\" said Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs Alan Larson, adding that the EU moratorium had already blocked $200 to $300 million trade in corn.
\"Frankly the results that have come of the European Parliament have made the matter worse rather than better and I think have very serious potential to disrupt trade that hasn\'t been disrupted so far,\" he told reporters.
The United States has branded as unworkable the new EU labelling rules, which have only been passed so far in a first reading and will eventually need the approval of EU governments.
As well as requiring the labelling of GM products, the bill also allows the foods to be traced through the food chain.
Larson said a new U.S. farm bill, criticised in the EU for promising billions of dollars in new subsidies for the agriculture sector, had not undermined U.S. credibility in global trade liberalisation talks.
He said the United States still paid a third less subsidies than the EU, which on Wednesday announced an overhaul of its agriculture policy.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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