GMO Trade Regulation and Developing Countries
ACTA JURIDICA AND GLOBAL ADMINISTRATION LAW, INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT, Hugh Corder, ed., 2009
52 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2009 Last revised: 8 Nov 2012
Date Written: December 4, 2009
International and domestic regulatory and trade law and policy governing GMO crops and foods produced through genetic engineering poses a variety of sharp challenges for developing countries. Many developing countries, including Argentina, Brazil, China, and South Africa, are making wide use of GMO plants for food and cotton. Highly restrictive environmental, health and safety regulation of GMO foods in Europe, Japan, Korea and other countries poses a serious threat to these countries’ agricultural exports and deters other developing countries from adopting GMO crops, notwithstanding their potential economic, environmental, and food security advantages. Yet other developing countries want to prohibit or restrict GM crops because of environmental, economic, and social concerns. This article examines the different policies adopted by different developing and developed countries regarding GMOs and the international trade conflicts that have resulted, including the “GM Cold War” between the pro-GMO US and the GM skeptic EU. It examines how international regulatory regimes, including the WTO, the Codex Alimentarius, and the Biosafety Protocol, have sought to manage these conflicts. It also considers the complex implications of international regulatory law for developing countries, including the implications of the WTO panel decision in EC Biotech, finding aspects of European GMO regulation contrary to WTO disciplines. The article argues that developing countries, including those that favor greater reliance on GM crops, should organize to exert a greater influence on global GM trade regulatory policies rather than being held hostage to US-EU conflicts.
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