ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

20 December 2001


This says it all. "Consumer reluctance" and regulatory measures, reflecting public concern, are classed as "prohibitions"/"trade barriers". The only way forward - state power, market intervention and subsidies...


Ag Groups Push Biotech in Farm Bill

Ag industry groups have contacted the Senate to push Section 333 of the Senate farm bill, which authorizes a biotechnology and agricultural trade program.
Dec. 20, 2001

Text of the letter follows:

December 18, 2001

Dear Senator:

The undersigned organizations and the AgBiotech Planning Committee (ABPC) urge your strong support for Section 333 of the S. 1731: "The Agriculture, Conservation and Rural Enhancement Act of 2001."

The Biotechnology and Agricultural Trade Program authorized by this section is a necessary and critical tool to ensure the acceptance and adoption of important agricultural biotechnologies in world markets.

The ABPC is a coalition representing farmers, merchandisers, food manufacturers, and processors and technology providers that support the continued availability and marketability of agriculture and food biotechnology.

As you know, prohibitions and trade barriers related to commodities and food products produced through biotechnology have harmed U.S. farmers and food companies over the past two years.

The European Union's moratorium on approval of new biotech varieties has resulted in an estimated reduction of U.S. corn exports valued at more than $200 million since 1998.

New traceability and labeling proposals for genetically modified food and feed subject to approval in the European Union this year could further erode exports to this important market.

In Japan, our largest US agricultural product export market, consumer and regulatory reluctance to accept foods derived from biotechnology potentially impacts U.S. exports. Many growing and developing markets, like China, are also struggling to develop the capacity to include the new technology in their food systems.

Evolving multilateral agreements like the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and even Codex Alimentarius have potential to broaden the source of trade impediments related to biotechnology.

Section 333 of S. 1736 establishes a mechanism to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to enhance foreign acceptance of agricultural biotechnology through education and outreach to our foreign customers and directs that the Secretary assist exporters of U.S. commodities who are harmed by unwarranted and arbitrary barriers to trade related to the sale of biotechnology products.

Additionally, the program will allow USDA to assist important emerging markets in developing countries to rapidly and safely adopt these important tools that will help feed and sustain millions of the world's poorest people.

We are very supportive of this measure and urge that it be retained in the final version of the Senate passed Farm Bill.

American Crop Protection Association American Soybean Association
Biotechnology Industry Organization Corn Refiners Association, Inc. Grocery
Manufacturers of America National Association of Wheat Growers National
Corn Growers Association National Cotton Council National Food Processors
Association National Grain and Feed Association National Oilseed Processors
Association North American Millers Association North American Export Grain
Association Wheat Export Trade Education Committee

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