Grassley Urges U.S. Case Over Ban on AG Biotech Products
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, late
yesterday sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative, repeating his request that the
Administration file a World Trade Organization case against the European Union regarding that
government’s moratorium on the approval of new agricultural biotechnology products. Grassley said the end of the war with Iraq removes one of the Administration’s stated reasons for delaying a case.
The text of Grassley’s letter follows.
April 28, 2003
The Honorable Robert B. Zoellick
U.S. Trade Representative
600 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20508
Dear Ambassador Zoellick:
I am writing to urge the Administration to promptly initiate dispute settlement proceedings
at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the European Union regarding that government’s
moratorium on the approval of new agricultural biotechnology products.
For over four and a half years, the European Union has failed to approve new agricultural
biotechnology products for entry into the European market. Yet officials of the European Union
admit that products for which they are denying approvals are safe. The European Union’s refusal to approve safe products for entry into its market violates its WTO obligations.
The European Union’s moratorium continues to adversely impact U.S. farmers, including corn
producers in Iowa. The United States cannot afford to sit idly by as exports of U.S. agricultural
products to the European Union remain blocked. It is essential that the United States enforce its
Moreover, as you are aware, the European Union’s refusal to approve new biotechnology
products has contributed to the spread of anti-biotechnology hysteria to other parts of the world. Of particular concern, countries in southern Africa with starving populations recently rejected shipments of humanitarian aid consisting of U.S. corn due to unfounded fears over modern biotechnology. The international community must become further aware both of the WTO inconsistency of the European Union’s policies as well as the safety of biotechnology products. A WTO action would help achieve these ends.
I remain extremely frustrated that the Administration has yet to file a WTO case. I have
spoken with you on various occasions on the importance of initiating dispute settlement proceedings at the WTO. I have raised this issue in a letter to the President, in a conversation with another member of the Cabinet, and in discussions with high-ranking White House officials. I have yet to receive an adequate response on this matter from you or others in the Administration.
I understand that some in the Administration wanted to postpone a WTO case until after Iraq
was liberated. Saddam Hussein’s regime has now been deposed. Accordingly, I see no reason for
putting off a WTO challenge. The United States should promptly initiate a WTO action.
I look forward to a reply from you on this most critical issue.
Charles E. Grassley
cc: The Honorable Donald L. Evans
The Honorable Colin L. Powell
The Honorable Ann M. Veneman
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