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Ethical Govt decision to support WTO initiative

Network applauds ethical Government decision to support WTO initiative

The New Zealand Government deserves praise rather than condemnation for the stance it has taken on the US case to the World Trade Organisation, the Chairman of the Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston, said today.

“The New Zealand Government has undertaken the most thorough review of the issues surrounding gene technology. It has come to the inescapable conclusion, as have many other countries, that European barriers to the entry of GM products into their markets are not based on sound science.

“Even the Europeans themselves have established and asserted that the currently available GM crops are safe for the environment and for consumption in the food chain.

“Therefore there is no scientifically sustainable justification, within the rules of the WTO, for imposing an embargo on the import of GM crops and products from the rest of the world.

“The sooner European states allow their supermarkets and their people to choose to eat GM foods which their own scientists have said are safer than their non-GM counterparts, the better off everyone will be.

“It is very unfortunate that the European embargo on GM crops and food has resulted in significant global trade distortions. These have in turn led to the unsupportable result in Africa where starving people have been denied food aid because of fears that they may end of exporting safe GM grains back to Europe.

“The Government has taken the only ethical position it could,” concluded Dr Rolleston.

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