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Genetically modified organisms and the World Trade Organization The EC - Biotech case at the crossroads of genetic engineering, world trade and EU politics

Cijvat, Pieternella (2006)
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are controversial, especially for food and feed products, mainly due to potential benefits and potential risks. Advocates claim substantial yield improvements and reduced pesticide usage, while opponents claim contamination of non-GMO crops and damage to health and the environment. The European Union (EU) has since 2003 used a cautious approach, where GMO products are assessed on a case-by-case basis before being approved for market access or cultivation. However, within the member states opinions differ widely: Some member states are very positive to GMOs, while others have banned specific GMO products. The EU's cautious approach, before 2003 resulting in a de facto moratorium on GMOs, and the member... (More)
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are controversial, especially for food and feed products, mainly due to potential benefits and potential risks. Advocates claim substantial yield improvements and reduced pesticide usage, while opponents claim contamination of non-GMO crops and damage to health and the environment. The European Union (EU) has since 2003 used a cautious approach, where GMO products are assessed on a case-by-case basis before being approved for market access or cultivation. However, within the member states opinions differ widely: Some member states are very positive to GMOs, while others have banned specific GMO products. The EU's cautious approach, before 2003 resulting in a de facto moratorium on GMOs, and the member state bans have led the United States, Canada and Argentina to start a trade dispute within the World Trade Organization (WTO), challenging EU legislation. This is the so-called EC - Biotech case.

In this thesis GMOs are assessed from a sustainability point of view, that is, environmental, social and economic aspects are discussed. Moreover, EU regulations, stakeholder opinions, and relevant WTO agreements are presented, after which the trade dispute is explained, and results from the case are discussed. It is argued that the case has a negative impact on the use of the precautionary principle, and that this is a worrying trend within the WTO. In addition, the implications are discussed of the fact that the dispute panel did not take into account the most relevant multilateral environmental agreement in the field of GMOs, the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Biosafety Protocol. Moreover, it is analyzed whether the dispute will have an impact on the EU's GMO policies, resulting in the conclusion that direct impacts will likely be small, while indirect effects, such as an impact on the strength of a member state in the GMO debate, may lead to a slow change towards a more open attitude on GMOs in the EU. (Less)
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author
Cijvat, Pieternella
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
GMO, genetically modified organisms, world trade, World Trade Organization, EU policies, Environmental studies, Miljöstudier
language
English
id
1326608
date added to LUP
2006-12-11
date last changed
2007-02-23
@misc{1326608,
  abstract     = {Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are controversial, especially for food and feed products, mainly due to potential benefits and potential risks. Advocates claim substantial yield improvements and reduced pesticide usage, while opponents claim contamination of non-GMO crops and damage to health and the environment. The European Union (EU) has since 2003 used a cautious approach, where GMO products are assessed on a case-by-case basis before being approved for market access or cultivation. However, within the member states opinions differ widely: Some member states are very positive to GMOs, while others have banned specific GMO products. The EU's cautious approach, before 2003 resulting in a de facto moratorium on GMOs, and the member state bans have led the United States, Canada and Argentina to start a trade dispute within the World Trade Organization (WTO), challenging EU legislation. This is the so-called EC - Biotech case.

In this thesis GMOs are assessed from a sustainability point of view, that is, environmental, social and economic aspects are discussed. Moreover, EU regulations, stakeholder opinions, and relevant WTO agreements are presented, after which the trade dispute is explained, and results from the case are discussed. It is argued that the case has a negative impact on the use of the precautionary principle, and that this is a worrying trend within the WTO. In addition, the implications are discussed of the fact that the dispute panel did not take into account the most relevant multilateral environmental agreement in the field of GMOs, the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Biosafety Protocol. Moreover, it is analyzed whether the dispute will have an impact on the EU's GMO policies, resulting in the conclusion that direct impacts will likely be small, while indirect effects, such as an impact on the strength of a member state in the GMO debate, may lead to a slow change towards a more open attitude on GMOs in the EU.},
  author       = {Cijvat, Pieternella},
  keyword      = {GMO,genetically modified organisms,world trade,World Trade Organization,EU policies,Environmental studies,Miljöstudier},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Genetically modified organisms and the World Trade Organization The EC - Biotech case at the crossroads of genetic engineering, world trade and EU politics},
  year         = {2006},
}