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US Approach Even Worse Than Expected

8th April 2002

‘Big Stick’ Approach By US Confirms Fears As Even Worse Than Expected

Reports that the US government intend to threaten New Zealand’s clean green image by demanding commercial releases of genetically engineered crops have met opposition from GE Free groups.

“It is absurd that US trade representatives say the US may pull out of trade deals if the ban on full scale commercial releases until October next year goes ahead,” said a GE Free representative, “ New Zealand growers know they are on to a winner by sticking with GE Free produce and the public have shown they don’t want GE crops here. The government are going to have a fight on their hands if they agree to let commercial crops be grown here.”

Barriers to imports of GE food by several countries have come under fire already as contravening WTO rulings. Pressure on Prime Minister Helen Clark during her recent visit was expected as the US have now lobbied any politicians considering labelling GE foods by threatening tariffs for nearly 5 years now.

“We expected lobbying on the GE food labelling issue, but it appears both Treaty issues and the sovereignty of the nation are now at stake. There are worldwide concerns surrounding both the growing and consumption of GE foods and their effects on public health and the environment. Just because the American food supply is contaminated, this surely is not sufficient reason for the rest of the world to suffer.”

Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the European Environmental Bureau recently stated that EU authorities are ignoring the European Environmental Agency's findings, the report justifying the use of the Precautionary Principle, in order to prevent irreversible damage to European agriculture and biodiversity.

Many GE crops have been developed by the United States Department of Agriculture, who hold patents for crops with terminator technology and whose representatives have often come from previous positions in the biotech industry and regulatory agencies. In what is commonly known as the ‘swing door’ policy, key people move from job to job lobbying for GE crops aiming to ensure that the US control of major food crops is established.

“ The US would love to carry out their controversial experiments here, like that of the use of immuno-contraceptive carrots and potatoes on possums, making New Zealand the Pacific GE Bhopal. New Zealand’s public and growers both organic and conventional know that is perfectly poised to gain from being GE Free.”

Recent research programmes funded by government through MORST propose US involvement in both social and gene transfer issues.

“We feel this research may well in fact be intended to find ways to influence the public, in effect assisting PR-spin for the Biotech industry in the face of clearly-expressed public views against environmental GE releases and GM food"

ENDS

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