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Bush slates Europe over GMO ban

Bush slates Europe over GMO ban

By Mihaela Gherghisan and courtesy of UN Observer

Bush with Central European Foreign Ministers of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia at the White House May 8, 2003.

The war of words between the EU and US over GM crops in Africa appears to be heating up, ahead of the G8 Summit next week in Evian, France.

In a speech given Wednesday, 21 May, the American President George Bush accused the EU of perpetuating starvation in Africa by subsidising agricultural exports and by objecting to the use of bio engineered crops, GMOs.

The Washington Post reports on Mr Bush's speech, which claims that the Europeans, by closing their markets to GMOs, have caused African nations to avoid investments in such crops.

He said that the American efforts to reduce hunger in Africa have been impeded by European policies of blocking all new bio-crops because of "unfounded, unscientific fears."

"European governments should join - not hinder - the great cause of ending hunger in Africa", he said. "I propose that all developed nations, including our partners in Europe, immediately eliminate subsidies on agricultural exports to developing countries so that they can produce more food to export and more food to feed their own people", he added.

Earlier this month, the United States filed a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization (WTO) complaining about a five-year-old European moratorium on bio-engineered crops. The Europeans are accused of not meeting promises to repeal the ban, but they fought back and called the suit "legally unwarranted, economically unfounded and politically unhelpful."

David Byrne, the European Commissioner responsible for health and food safety, a week ago described the move as "eccentric" adding that the moratorium would be lifted well before the WTO makes a ruling.

The American President will meet the Europeans for a G8 Summit next week in Evian, France.

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