WTO Rules Against EU Biotech Ban


Reuters reports that the World Trade Organization has issued a 1000 page confidential ruling against the European Union's moratorium on importing biotech crops. To wit:

The World Trade Organization, in a closely watched ruling, decreed on Tuesday that the European Union and six member states broke trade rules by barring entry to genetically modified crops and foods, diplomats said.

The diplomat also told Reuters:

"Members' safeguard measures have also been condemned," he said in reference to the complaint against individual market and import bans imposed by France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg and Greece.

This evidently means that the WTO has rejected anti-biotech regulations based on the unscientific precautionary principle.

This is good news for the world's farmers, the world's consumers, and the poor.

NEXT: Curious George Gets Seized by the State

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  1. “Unscientific precautionary principle,” eh Ron?

    As opposed to the scientific principle of letting corporations do whatever the fuck they want and see if you can prove the harm a few decades later, a la lead, tobacco, asbestos, mercury….

  2. Perhaps you didn’t read the original article, wherein Ron assailed the extent of the precautionary priniciple, but also suggested a balance must be struck. To wit:

    “Should we look before we leap? Sure we should. But every utterance of proverbial wisdom has its counterpart, reflecting both the complexity and the variety of life’s situations and the foolishness involved in applying a short list of hard rules to them. For some people in some situations, “Look before you leap” is good advice. Others might be wiser to heed the equally proverbial, “He who hesitates is lost.”

    People have understood this maxim for millennia, and the chances are that its message will eventually reach even Wisconsin’s Wingspread Conference Center. And when it does, I want the Wingspreaders to understand that the moral equivalent of a Federal Anti-Hesitation Commission isn’t such a good idea, either.”

    Hope this helps, have a nice day.


  3. luisa: Considering that life expectancy has more than doubled over the past 100 years due (recall that only 1 in 20 people made past age 65 in the US in 1900) to technological and scientific progress, humanity, including corporations, must have been doing something right. Try living without buying anything produced by someone else, most especially not from “corporations” that make medicines, clothes, food, housing and so forth. Which is not to say that “corporations” don’t make mistakes or commit fraud, they do. But most people, including corporate chieftains, know that you make a better living and more money by satisfying people’s needs than by defrauding them. And yes, the precautionary principle is unscientific.

  4. Not only is the precautionary principle unscientific, but there is ample scientific evidence that these food products are safe.

  5. As opposed to the scientific principle of letting corporations do whatever the fuck they want and see if you can prove the harm a few decades later

    On balance, this has worked like a charm. Those societies which have followed this principle have prospered in every way; those which have not, well, have not. Sounds pretty empirical to me.

  6. As opposed to the scientific principle of letting corporations do whatever the fuck they want and see if you can prove the harm a few decades later, a la lead, tobacco, asbestos, mercury….
    Lets say that there is a corporation that not only was the #1 pollutor in the world, but also commited massive acts of violence. Would you trust this corporation to supervise all other corporations? Well, that is what you support.

    The U.S. government is a profit making corporation… the only difference is that the U.S. government is a monopoly that is allowed to kill its competition. And it has it’s own song and flag (although Starbucks has this also).

    Just because you have a messianic faith in a paticular corporation, doesn’t make it different than any other corporation. So please, if you are going to whine about those “evil corporations”, what is your solution (other than what I am assuming: to put the corporation you like the most in total control of everything)?

  7. “a la lead, tobacco, asbestos, mercury….”

    Yeah, those modern man-made evils just killin’ folks without warning. If you don’t think we been hoodwinked by the Korporations, you must be mad as a hatter.

  8. And cigarrettes have been called “coffin nails” for the better part of the 20th century to the present…but black lung; isn’t that a recent health problem?

  9. You gotta look to the future, folks. European governments have been forking out bagsful of money to NGOs to push the anti-GMO message, just to keep up the walls of trade protection. They need those walls, because European farmers are so heavily subsidized and inefficient that only trade protectionism can keep them from getting plowed under. Most taxpayer money (funneled through governments) for anti-biotech NGOs comes from the Netherlands, which is home to–guess what–Europe’s largest multinational agricultural combines. Now that the walls have to come down, that money lavished on the corporate-slave NGOs will be wasted and they’ll have to come up with another scare campaign to keep that money rolling in. You gotta wonder what that scare will be, and you know they’re working on it right now, because someone’s got to buy petroleum fuel for the yacht.

  10. Schiller (or anyone): Can you provide a good article/cite for your contention? Thanks!

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