TITLE:  US ATTEMPTS TO FORCE FEED GM TO EUROPE 
GMO trade war escalates

SOURCE: Friends of the Earth Europe, Press Release 

DATE:   Mar 5, 2004

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US ATTEMPTS TO FORCE FEED GM TO EUROPE GMO trade war
escalates

Brussels - The US has escalated transatlantic trade tensions by
pushing for a full-blown trade dispute over Europe's reluctance to
accept genetically modified (GM) food and crops. The World Trade
Organisation (WTO), at the request of the US Government, today
released the names of a panel of trade experts that will preside over
the dispute over the coming months. Friends of the Earth Europe has
accused the Bush Government of using the secretive and undemocratic
WTO to "force-feed" GM food to Europe and the rest of the world.(1)

The USA, Canada and Argentina started the WTO dispute on May 13th
2003
claiming that the de facto moratorium on GM products in Europe was
harming the livelihoods of their farmers. But the dispute ground to a
halt after all parties could not decide who should sit on the WTO
panel and the European Commission signaled its intent to break the
five-year GM moratorium. However, after EU member states twice failed
to agree to the import of two new GM foods, the USA last week asked
the WTO to select a panel of experts and take the case further.

The WTO process is highly secretive. The composed panel will take
evidence from both sides in secret, with no official involvement from
the public. It is expected to come to a conclusion at the end of 2004.
An appeal is then likely to take place before the final verdict some
time next year. If Europe loses, it will either face severe financial
penalties or be forced to allow more GM foods onto the market.

Martin Rocholl, Director of Friends of the Earth Europe said:

"The Bush Administration is using the undemocratic and secretive WTO
to force feed GM food on the world. Decisions about the food we eat
should be made in Europe, not the White House or the WTO. The
European
Commission must fight this aggressive US policy and ensure that
Europe's food, farming and environment is protected from the threats
of GM food and crops"

Notes Tens of thousands of people and international organisations with
a total of 35 million members have signed objections to the US
complaint calling on the WTO to drop the case. (see www.bite-back.org)

1. The WTO panel will be made up of: Christian Häberli (Chair), Mohan
Kumar, Akio Shimizu

CONTACT
Alexandra Wandel, Friends of the Earth Europe Trade Coordinator
+32 497 90 80 68
Adrian Bebb, Friends of the Europe GMO campaigner
+49 1609 490 1163

http://www.gmfoodnews.com/

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