Argentina, Canada and the US have requested the establishment of a WTO panel regarding the EU’s approach to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), a move which was slammed by the EU.

“We have been in what we found a rather constructive dialogue with Argentina, Canada and the US on this issue. We regret this move to an unnecessary litigation. The EU’s regulatory system for GMOs is clear, transparent, reasonable and non-discriminatory,” EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy said.

He added that the EU remained confident that the World Trade Organisation would confirm that “the EU fully respects its obligations.”

David Byrne, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, also voiced his disapproval of the request.

“Only a month ago we updated our regulatory system on GMOs in line with the latest scientific and international developments. Clear labelling and traceability rules are essential to help restore consumer confidence in GMO‘s in Europe,” Byrne said, adding that it is the lack of consumer demand for GM-products that accounts for the low sales of GMOs in the EU market.

The US has been threatening for some time to challenge the EU’s biotech policy at the WTO because it claims the EU’s unofficial moratorium on GMOs is not based on scientific evidence of risk to health and the environment.

The EU blocked yesterday’s initial request for the formation of a dispute panel but will not be able to do so at the second request, which is likely to happen on 29 August, reported The Financial Times.