WTO Rules Against EU Biotech Bans

Ruling in favor of U.S. declares EU bans not scientifically sound.

Published on: Sep 29, 2006

The World Trade Organization has ruled in favor of the U.S., Canada, and Argentia in their case against EU bans on agricultural biotech products, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab announced Friday.

The U.S. brought a WTO challenge in May 2003 over the EU moratorium on approving agricultural biotechnology crops and member-state bans of previously approved products.

"After eight years of legal wrangling and stalling by Europe, we are a step closer to clearing barriers faced by U.S. agricultural producers and expanding global use of promising advances in food production," Ambassador Schwab says. "I urge the EU to fully comply with its WTO obligations, and consider all outstanding biotech product applications, and evaluate their scientific merits in accordance with the EU's own laws."

Although the EU approved a handful of biotech applications following the initiation of the case in 2003, the EU has yet to lift the moratorium in its entirety.

In upholding U.S. claims against the EU's across-the-board moratorium on product approvals and six EU Member States' product bans, the WTO issued the longest report in the history of the WTO.