September 12, 2008
The American Soybean Association (ASA) is being credited with playing a key role in defeating a ban in Poland that was to prohibit import, production and use of animal feed from biotech crops.
The rule was to go into place by August 12, 2008.
But on July 27, 2008, just two weeks before the ban would have gone into effect, Poland's President Lech Aleksander KaczyÅ„ski signed a law pushing back the introduction of a ban to 2013.
Poland has professed an official anti-biotech position and banned the sale and registration of biotech seeds, since 2006.
Avoiding this ban prevented the disruption of U.S. soybean exports to the European Union (EU) generally, and exports of US manufactured feed to Poland, worth $100 million annually.
"The GM feed ban was defeated by a coalition of the Polish Feed Millers, Poultry Association, and Pork Association, and U.S. trade associations, led by the American Soybean Association, and diplomatic representations including the Governments of the United States, Argentina, and Canada," reports Eric Wenberg, Agricultural Counselor in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Office of Agricultural Affairs at the American Embassy in Warsaw.
The ASA played a key role in defeating the ban as a spillover effect from the ASA's work to highlight the problem of delayed EU approval of new biotechnology soy varieties for use in animal feeds, the so-called "asynchronous approval problem."
"The educational activities of the American Soybean Association and FAS Warsaw helped Polish industry get the ammunition they needed to beat the feed ban and has left in place a coalition of contacts working hard to improve EU biotechnology policy generally," said Wenberg.
"The feed ban would have jeopardized Polish pork or poultry production and cause losses for feed compounders.
Defeating the ban also benefited major US-based multinationals with investments in Polish agriculture.
Teams from the ASA visited Poland in October 2007 and February 2008 to work with Polish importers and the feed industry on the asynchronous approval issue.
The problem, if left unsolved, could lead to the loss of an US$800 million market for American soy in 2009, as delayed EU approvals of new biotech soy would mean these traits would not be authorized for import into EU member states, Wenberg said.