miércoles, enero 12, 2005

Next dates to remember:

update 6/12/04

February 2005:
Meeting of Scientific and Technical Experts with the WTO Panel
> 2nd Hearing of the WTO Panel

July 2005:
> Draft report of the WTO Panel
> Final report of the WTO Panel

September 2005:
> Appeal phase

George Bush is using the World Trade Organisation to force-feed you genetically modified food. You can help stop them: Bite Back below and sign the Citizens' Objection.

To force genetically modified (GM) products into global markets, George Bush has filed a legal dispute at the WTO, accusing the European Union of blocking trade by restricting GMOs. GM products take away consumer choice, make farmers dependent on big business and undermine food security in developing countries. Nobody knows what risks they pose to people's health and the environment.

The dispute process at the WTO

Last August the three-man Panel judging the GMO trade complaint decided to consult scientists on the technical arguments raised in the case. Finally, in November 2004, a 4-5 Scientific and Technical Experts Group was elected and the questions that they need to answer were submitted.

According to the European Commission's representative, it is expected that the Scientific and Technical Experts Group will come out with a report in February. They will then meet with the WTO Panel and the parties involved in Geneva. The second hearing, which was expected in November 2004 , has been postponed to 15-16 February until after the release of the Experts' report.

If everything goes as suggested above, the WTO Panel will release a draft report, followed by the final report in July 2005.


Since the launch of the dispute, the European Commission has approved two GM crops despite scientific uncertainty and potential environmental and health problems.

The European Commission is attempting to overturn bans on GM food and crops that Austria, France, Greece, Germany and Luxembourg put in place to protect its citizens and the environment. On 29 November the Commission tried (and failed!) to end these bans.

However, the European Commission will not give up so easily, and if it gets its way, these five countries will have to lift their bans and allow more risky GM products into their countries. The Commission will now probably send the same proposals to a Council of Environment Ministers meeting, possibly in March.

The move is yet another case of the Commission acting under pressure from the US led trade dispute at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). A pro biotech decision would also send a signal to other countries worldwide not to ban GM crops.

We will inform you as soon as we hear so we can keep the pressure up and ensure that our right to say no to GM foods remains, despite the pressure from the World Trade Organisation and the US Government.

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