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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 10:43 GMT
EU faces deadline on GM food ban
Protesters in Brussels
Activists in Europe continue to protest against GM produce
A deadline for the EU to end restrictions on imports of genetically modified foods is due to expire.

In November 2007, the World Trade Organization (WTO) gave the EU an extra two months to comply with its ruling.

The United States, Argentina and Canada brought the case, arguing their farmers lost money because of GM bans, and may now call for WTO sanctions.

The EU has difficulty complying with the ruling, chiefly because of a ban on GM products by Austria.

The European Commission says it has imposed a regulatory framework but acknowledges there are problems enforcing it.

'Protectionism'

In 1998, the EU introduced a moratorium on new biotech authorisations that lasted six years.

The three countries behind the complaint to the WTO argued that the ban was about protectionism rather than science.

There are continuing concerns in France about the safety of GM crops.

In December, Paris imposed a temporary ban on the commercial sale of a genetically modified crop (MON 810) grown in France and developed by the US biotech company, Monsanto.

French anti-globalisation activist, Jose Bove, who was convicted of destroying GM crops in southern France has gone on hunger strike to demand a year-long embargo.

Biotech crops, including corn and soybeans that have been genetically modified to resist insects or disease, have been widely grown in the US for years.



SEE ALSO
EU 'broke trade rules' on GM food
11 May 06 |  Business

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