December 17, 2009


ASA delegates reach out to EU about GM soy



The American Soybean Association (ASA) announced earlier this week that members of the association's Biotech Working Group met with Members of the European Parliament (MEP) in Brussels, Belgium as part of an ongoing outreach program.


ASA said the objective of the meetings was to strengthen relationships with a range of influential newly-elected MEPs and with key parliamentary advisors in the European Parliament relevant committees at the beginning of Parliament five-year mandate. US soy exports to the EU are valued at US$1.6 billion annually, ASA said.


The ASA delegation described the development pipeline for new soy biotech items to be commercialised between now and 2020. In addition, the ASA delegates briefed MEPs on added-value biotech soy that will soon come to market, many of which will have quality traits that will have more direct consumer benefits.


The delegates urged MEPs to put pressure on the European Commission and the governments of the EU member states to greatly shorten the EU approval process and to introduce a tolerance for traces of unapproved biotech events.


"The EU current legislative framework and procedures are creating serious obstacles to trade as witnessed by the complete shutdown of US soy imports between June and the beginning of December this year as a result of traces of non-EU approved biotech corn that were found in US soy shipments to Europe," ASA board member James Andrew said.


Andrew also pointed out that Europe feed and livestock industries were also very concerned about this issue, given their reliance on US imports between October and March.