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Page last update: 25/12/2008

Biotech, Legislation: EU gives green light to GMO visas

The European Union has adopted new legislation on the cross-border movement of genetically modified organisms to promote transparency in the GMO trade and buttress a new international treaty.

The Council of Ministers has formally adopted new EU regulations on the trans-national movement of GMOs that will provide a legislative framework for the import and export of such organisms.
The new EU legislation lays down strict provisions regarding the detailed information that exporters must provide about GMO export, as well as the explicit consent that importing countries must provide. It also requires producers to inform the international community about accidental releases of GMOs.
EU environment ministers gave their final seal of approval on 13 June following the smooth passage of the bill through a second reading at the European Parliament earlier in the month.

A question of choice
Europe is at the forefront of international efforts to forge a regime for the safe manipulation of biotechnology. Following the passage of the new regulations, the EU as a whole is in full compliance with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
“The Protocol will ensure that countries exporting or importing GMOs can rely on a sound regulatory framework, so that they can make informed choices,” Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström was quoted as saying.
Signed by more than 100 countries, the protocol was passed as a supplement to the 2000 UN Convention on Biological Diversity. It obliges countries exporting GMOs to provide detailed descriptions of the organisms to recipient countries in advance of any shipment to help them decide whether or not to accept it.
An importing country may reject GMO imports – even without scientific proof – if it fears they put its traditional crops at risk, undermine local cultures or reduce the value of biodiversity to indigenous communities.
As European environment ministers gave the new EU legislation their blessing, the tiny Pacific country of Palau became the fiftieth country to ratify Cartagena. The Protocol will officially come into force in September.
Seven Member States have so far ratified Cartagena. The new EU regulations will put pressure on the remaining eight to bring their national laws into line.

Source: EU and news sources
More Information:
Council newsroom
Parliament press release
Information on the Cartagena Protocol

Last update: 25 December 2008 | Top