EU doesn't appeal ruling over GM canola

By | January 24, 2007
Two years after the United States and Canada challenged a European Union (EU) moratorium on any new approvals of genetically modified (GM) canola, there has been some slight movement on the issue, according to JoAnne Buth, vice president of crop production and biotechnology for the Canola Council of Canada.

A report released in October from the World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded the EU should not have blocked GM canola seed imports from 1999 to 2003. In December, the EU finally came to a decision not to appeal the ruling, basically admitting it used improper procedures during that time frame to stop GM canola seed imports. Country bans, or moratoriums, like the one that the EU instituted are illegal, Buth said.

Despite initial media reports following the ruling that said GM canola seed could now be shipped to the EU, all GM canola seed varieties still must go through the EU's regulation acceptance process, Buth said. Although the EU started that process up again in 2003, approvals are slow in coming. In fact, no new GM canola seed varieties have been approved for anything submitted before the moratorium was in place. "It's been unbelievable at times," she said, adding that canola oil can be shipped to the EU for biodiesel production.

Still, there may be at least a slight glimmer of hope on the horizon. Due to the combination of increased crush capacity in Europe and a lack of canola crop supplies from Australia due to a severe drought, Buth predicts there will be increased demand early next year.
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