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May 11, 2006

WTO: EU’s GMO block broke international trade rules

The World Trade Organisation today (11 May) upheld a ruling that the EU broke international trade regulations with its effective ban on bio-tech foods between 1998 and 2004.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has today (11 May) upheld a ruling that the EU broke international trade regulations with its effective ban on bio-tech foods between 1998 and 2004.

The WTO’s confidential verdict sided with a complaint brought forward by the US, Canada and Argentina concerning the EU’s unwillingness to licence genetically modified organisms.

The ruling essentially confirmed a preliminary report issued in February, which concluded that the EU had breached its commitments with regards to 21 products. It also said bans in six member states – Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Luxemburg – violated international trade rules. However, it did not rule on whether the EU legislation was illegal and side-stepped the issue of whether GMOs are safe.

The EU ended its de facto ban in 2004, when it began issuing licenses for GMOs.

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