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Ag Groups Pressure EU, U.S. Officials on European Biotech Approvals

Ag Groups Pressure EU, U.S. Officials on European Biotech Approvals
EU should make decisions on nine biotech events held up in approval process

The American Soybean Association this week in letters to the European Commission and the U.S. Trade Representative urged the EU to make timely decisions this September on nine biotech events that have received positive safety reviews and are awaiting final import authorization.

Nearly 20 more other farm, commodity, grain processing, grain trade, and biotechnology associations also signed on to the letters.

EU should make decisions on nine biotech events held up in approval process

According to ASA, there are nine products, including four soybean products, which have already received positive European Food Safety Authority opinions and completed the subsequent review process, but are still awaiting final authorization for import for food and feed use from the EU's College of Commissioners.

Related: International Corn Groups Meet with EU Representatives on Biotech

The groups say the U.S. Trade Representative should contact the EU Commission President to ensure action on the pending events in September and to ask the EU to respect its obligations under the World Trade Organization to make timely regulatory decisions on new biotechnology applications.

In another letter to the EU Commission, the groups said the time required for EU decisions on new biotech crops has only lengthened in recent years and no authorizations have been issued since November 2013.

Some of the products have been before the European Commission since the end of 2013 and were submitted to EFSA more than five years ago, the groups say.

Related: Soybean Farmer Testifies for Streamlined Biotech Trade Policies

"Several of these products are already being commercialized under stewardship programs in the U.S. and elsewhere, and failure to approve them at the meeting of the College of Commissioners in September will increase the risk of trade disruptions during the coming months," the letter noted.

The letters emphasized that the delays could cause feed shortages and price increases, which would affect European producers, traders, livestock industry and consumers.

The National Corn Growers Association, a signatory on both letters, has also been focused on ensuring EU biotech approvals.

In June, NCGA joined corn groups from Brazil and Argentina in a biotechnology mission to meet with embassy, ministry and industry officials from various European countries to stress the group's position on keeping biotech approvals in sync.

News source: ASA

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