France extends GE ban, Canada tells Europe to reconsider.
Last week, France announced it would extend its ban on GE corn. Before Canadians had time to seal the envelopes on the congratulations cards streaming across the Atlantic, the Canadian delegation in Brussels announced that it would give Europe another month to reconsider the legality of the ban. It is unlikely the French government will much relish being treated as a recalcitrant schoolchild by its onetime colony. Meanwhile, Canada still will not live up to its international commitments to ratify the Cartegena treaty on genetically engineered organisms and a lack of labelling of GE foods continues to put Canadians and their environment at risk. Canada should elevate its food safety and environmental regulations to the highest international standards rather than, like a common rock crab, pull down others into the salty bucket of bad science and ill-conceived policy.
Canada agrees to extend deadline for EU to amend biotech rules
GENEVA - Canada has agreed to extend a deadline for the European Union to change its rules on the import of genetically modified foods, trade officials said Friday.Officials at the World Trade Organization said a joint letter had been received from the Canadian and EU trade representatives in Geneva laying out a new "reasonable period of time" for Brussels to comply with a WTO panel ruling that deemed the restrictions imposed by some European countries illegal.Canada originally demanded that the EU comply by Friday, but that deadline has now been extended to Feb. 11."Canada believes that constructive progress is being made and has therefore authorized the extension of the reasonable period of time," said Renee David, a spokeswoman with the trade section in Canada's foreign affairs department."We are grateful that the situation isn't going to escalate in the short term," EU spokesman Peter Power said, adding that "all parties will work constructively to find a solution to stave off the threat of retaliation."A WTO panel ruled in November that some European countries broke international trade rules by stopping imports of genetically modified foods.The United States, Canada and Argentina had complained to the global trade body that there was no scientific evidence to justify the EU's effective ban on biotech foods and that it was an unfair barrier to producers who wanted to export to the continent.U.S. officials declined to say whether they would insist on sticking by the Friday deadline, which passes at midnight.Argentine trade officials could not be reached for comment.Brussels had asked the three complainants for more time to work with its member states on bringing their national legislation in line with global trade rules.
Some countries in the 27-country bloc are opposed to allowing genetically modified products go on sale due to consumer concerns, even if the scientific consensus is that they are safe.
- Canadian Press