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"The Trump administration will attack overseas regulations that restrict the export of GMO crops and other products resulting from American technological innovation, said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer at the first meeting of a newly created inter-departmental task force on rural America. “We are going to bring cases at the WTO and other venues, we’re going to insist that any barrier be science-based, and the United States will increase exports,” he said. For decades, U.S. policy has called for international trade rules to be based on fact rather than prejudice. The agribusiness community often points to science-based regulation as a way of removing obstacles to the export of genetically engineered crops. While dozens of reviews have maintained that GE crops are safe to eat, they still face significant public opposition in Europe and other places. President Trump’s executive order creating the task force directed it to look for legislative, regulatory, and policy changes that promote agriculture, including those that “advance the adoption of innovations and technology for agricultural production and long-term, sustainable rural development.” The order identified 13 areas for examination. First on the list is removing “barriers to economic prosperity and quality of life in rural America.” Second is the advancement of agricultural technology. Lighthizer said that one of the top priorities for his office is the removal of trade barriers that cannot be defended scientifically. Exports generate 20 cents of each dollar of U.S. farm income. If other countries unfairly block U.S. exports because of the technology behind them, he said, “there is a reluctance to incorporate that technology into our own production at home.” U.S. officials routinely urge other nations to approve commercial sales of biotech crops. In the past couple of years, China has been accused of dragging its feet on the approval of new U.S. GE strains. Corn prices in this country fell when China rejected more than 1 million tonnes of U.S. corn earlier this decade because the cargoes included an unapproved GMO variety from Syngenta. In a class-action lawsuit currently underway in Kansas City, farmers have blamed Syngenta for selling the seed, approved by U.S. regulators, before it was cleared by China for import."

Posted June 16th, 2017