Europe and Genetically Modified Foods

Article excerpt


During a two-day visit to Washington, German Labor and Economy Minister Wolfgang Clement spoke in favor of abolishing Europe's discriminatory policy against genetically modified foods produced in the United States and elsewhere. Mr. Clement's remarks represent a dramatic slap at the European Union's policy toward U.S. farm exports by one of the EU's own. The Wall Street Journal quoted Mr. Clement as stating that he would assume the EU "would be ending the moratorium in the course of this year."

Mr. Clement's statement is significant because it directly contradicts comments by top EU officials. "The U.S. claims there is a so-called moratorium," said Europe's top trade official, Pascal Lamy, last week. But "the fact is that the EU has authorized G.M. [genetically modified] varieties in the past and is currently processing applications," he added. What Mr. Lamy failed to say is that the European Union has approved only two applications for new biocrop imports.

Mr. Clement's comment also makes global divisions over the farm trade issues more entrenched. Increasingly, the United States is in accord not only with the developing world on a host of farm issues, but also with parts of Europe some of it "Old Europe. …