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US Trade Representative Rob Portman and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns on Agricultural Biotechnology and the WTO

February 7, 2006

"Today, news reports have stated the World Trade Organization (WTO) has preliminarily found the European Union has a de facto moratorium on agricultural biotechnology products that is inconsistent with WTO rules. The facts on agricultural biotechnology are clear and compelling. It is a safe and beneficial technology that is improving food security and helping to reduce poverty worldwide," said U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman. "We believe agricultural biotechnology products should be provided a timely, transparent and scientific review by the European Union, and that is why Canada, Argentina and the United States brought the case in the first place."

"The continuing adoption of agricultural biotechnology worldwide is evidence it provides tremendous benefits to farmers and rural communities. Global biotechnology acreage has increased more than 50 fold in the first decade of commercialization, with more than one billion acres planted," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. "More than 8.5 million farmers in 21 countries, including five EU nations, are reducing pesticide use, receiving higher yields and preventing erosion by planting biotech varieties. Ninety percent of these farmers are in developing countries, adding to rural incomes, promoting development and preserving our environment."


FAS PR 0017-06
USTR Contact: Christin Baker (202) 395-3230
USDA Contact: Ed Loyd (202) 720-4623

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