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IATP, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace:
WTO secrecy an outrage

Geneva/Brussels - 8th February 2006

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace have made the conclusions of the WTO dispute on genetically modified organisms public [1] in order to allow the whole world to engage in the debate on the future of our food.

The groups condemned the secrecy of the WTO and called on governments to ensure that complex health and environmental decisions are taken in a transparent manner by bodies qualified to do so.

"This verdict only proves that the WTO is unqualified to deal with complex scientific and environmental issues. They even say so themselves, claiming that 'the panel did not examine ... whether biotech products in general are safe or not'. The US administration and agro-chemical companies brought the case in a desperate attempt to force-feed markets with GMOs. But consumers, citizens and farmers around the world do not want GMOs and this ruling will change none of that," said Daniel Mittler, Trade Policy Advisor at Greenpeace International.

"The WTO is keeping its draft ruling secret. This sums up everything that is wrong with the WTO. It is secretive, undemocratic and biased towards business interests. The WTO should be the last institution to decide what people eat and grow in the fields," said Alexandra Wandel, Trade Coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe.

"The WTO dispute panel is set up to view regulations strictly in a framework designed to facilitate trade, not to realize public or environmental health objectives," said Steve Suppan, Senior Trade Associate at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. "The U.S. government and the biotech companies may claim that the ruling proves that GE crops are safe for human consumption and the use of GE seeds is an environmentally beneficial agricultural practice. But the case covers no such thing: much less does it support the profoundly flawed U.S. regulation of GE crops."

[1] The conclusions and recommendations of the WTO panel report are
available at: http://www.tradeobservatory.org/library.cfm?refid=78475

Backgrounders are available at: IATP: http://www.tradeobservatory.org

http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2006/GMO_and_WTO_interim_briefing_Feb2006.pdf (pdf)

Greenpeace: http://eu.greenpeace.org/downloads/gmo/WTObriefing0602.pdf (pdf)

For further comment contact:
IATP: Ben Lilliston, IATP, +1 612-870-3416
Fiends of the Earth: Alexandra Wandel, +49 172 748 3953

Greenpeace: Daniel Mittler, +49 171 876 5345