Washington, -- Commenting on reports that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has preliminarily found the European Union has violated its trade obligations by failing to approve new agricultural biotechnology products in a timely manner, Dr. Jeffrey Barach, Vice President and Center Director of the Food Products Association (FPA), made the following remarks:
"This reported decision by the WTO underscores the importance of science-based reviews of agricultural biotechnology products. Science based safety assessment should be the basis for the approval process, not political concerns.
"The Food Products Association agrees with statements on this reported decision by U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, who noted that agricultural biotechnology products should be provided a timely, transparent and scientific review by the EU, which is why this WTO suit was brought by the United States, Canada and Argentina.
"It is important to note that while this decision on the EU's approval process for agricultural biotechnology products is a very positive step forward, it does not address the key problem for food processors posed by the EU's requirements for labeling and traceability of foods and feeds. These requirements have established a serious trade barrier that continues to keep many food products enjoyed here in the United States out of the European market."