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NZ should follow Egypt and pull out of GE WTO case

NZ should follow Egypt and pull out of GE world trade case

The Greens are calling on the New Zealand Government to follow Egypt's lead, and pull out of the wrong-headed United States world trade case against Europe over Genetic Engineering.

World media including Reuters have reported that Egypt has withdrawn its support for the US-led World Trade Organisation case against the European Union's effective ban on new GE products.

Egypt was originally to join the US, Argentina and Canada in the action; while New Zealand joins other agricultural exporting nations including Australia and Chile as third parties to the case.

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today it was obvious that cracks were appearing in the US case, with other countries starting to think better of supporting it.

"This is the opportunity for New Zealand to also distance itself from this damaging action," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"We should be supporting the rights of consumers to eat and grow what they want.

"European consumers have made it clear they do not want GE food products, and New Zealand should not be trying to ram GE down their throats via the WTO," Ms Fitzsimons said.

"The US may choose to act like a global bully, but we don't have to follow suit.

"It is important we don't damage our relationship with Europe, which is after all our largest trading partner, and the best market for safe and environmentally sound food products," she said.

International media report that the Egyptian decision was contained in a letter sent by Egypt's EU ambassador to the Brussels-based European Consumers' Organisation.

A text of the letter seen by Reuters says: '... Egypt decided not to become a party to the motion for arbitration launched by the United States within the dispute settlement body of the World Trade Organization."

The Financial Times reports the letter said: 'The government of Egypt took this decision in conscious emulation of the need to preserve adequate and effective consumer and environmental protection, ...'

ENDS

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