The European Commission’s food safety chief has said that any US decision to file a WTO complaint against the EU’s moratorium on genetically modified foods would be a strange move because the EU was taking steps to end the ban.

Commissioner David Byrne made the comments in response to a report in The Wall Street Journal that US officials say there is now an interagency agreement to file a biotech case within the World Trade Organisation. The report also claimed the Bush administration may hold off filing the complaint in order to try to drum up support from other biotech crop producers such as Argentina, Australia and Canada.

“The US has been considering this for some time. It seems to me to be a strange decision to take at this time, especially when we are taking steps with our legislation,” Byrne was quoted by Reuters as saying.

“The timing of this seems to be a little eccentric,” he added.

The EU says it is already moving to end the moratorium by way of introducing legislation on labelling and traceability of GM foods.

“Just as we are about to solve the problems that exist as they see it, it is strange to raise the temperature. If they do it, then so be it,” Byrne added.