EU/US Tug of War in Guatemala over Transgenics

What do you do when you don’t want genetically modified foods, but the world seems to be inexorably switching over to them? If you are the EU, you do everything you can to slow that process wherever you can.

E.U., U.S. press Guatemala on biotech policy from Eco-Americas (Subscription required)

Guatemala has become the latest Latin American battleground in the fight over
genetically modified organisms (GMOs), with Europe and the United States lobbying for rules that suit their competing interests. The United States, which grows, consumes and exports much of the globe’s gene-altered crops, is pushing for swift acceptance of the technology in Guatemala. But the EU, which limits the production and import of GMOs, is concerned that rapid commercialization of gene-modified crops in Latin America is sharply reducing the supply of non-transgenic food available to it on world markets.
Transgenics already have gained a strong foothold in three countries that
supply a large share of EU food imports—the United States, Brazil and Argentina. So the EU is working to slow expansion of agricultural biotech worldwide and promoting a US$38.4 million program coordinated by the United Nations Environmental Program (Unep) and the Global Environmental Fund (GEF) to encourage precaution regarding transgenics.

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

On 29 January 2000, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a supplementary agreement to the Convention known as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The Protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. It establishes an advance informed agreement (AIA) procedure for ensuring that countries are provided with the information necessary to make informed decisions before agreeing to the import of such organisms into their territory. The Protocol contains reference to a precautionary approach and reaffirms the precaution language in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. The Protocol also establishes a Biosafety Clearing-House to facilitate the exchange of information on living modified organisms and to assist countries in the implementation of the Protocol.

143 signatories. You guessed it. The US is not one of them.

Thanks, Steve L.