Dispute panel looks into EU GM rules

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

The World Trade Organisation has given the go ahead for a dispute
panel to be set up under its aegis to investigate a complaint by
the US, Argentina and Canada against the European Union's tough
policy on genetically modified foods.

The World Trade Organisation has given the go ahead for a dispute panel to be set up under its aegis to investigate a complaint by the US, Argentina and Canada against the European Union's tough policy on genetically modified foods.

The three countries called on the WTO at the end of last month to form a settlement panel to decide whether or not the EU's policies on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) constitute a barrier to trade. They have accused the EU of maintaining a de facto moratorium on GM authorisations, a charge strongly denied by the European Commission.

At the time EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said: "We regret this move to an unnecessary litigation. The EU's regulatory system for GMOs is clear, transparent, reasonable and non discriminatory. We are confident that the WTO will confirm that the EU fully respects its obligations."

In a statement this week the WTO said that representatives of Australia, China, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Thailand, Uruguay and Chinese Taipei had reserved their third-party rights to participate in the panel's proceedings.

The average time frame for WTO dispute settlement panel procedures is around one year. However, the evidence of scientific experts necessary in this particular case may prolong the case.

At the request of Australia, Brazil and Thailand the WTO also announced this week that a dispute panel had been set up to look into the EU's policy on sugar subsidies.

Related topics: Market Trends

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