In letters sent this week to the European Commission and the U.S. Trade Representative, the American Soybean Association (ASA) urged that the European Union (EU) take action in September on nine biotech events that have received positive safety reviews and are awaiting final import authorization. ASA was joined on the letters by 18 other farm, commodity, grain processing, grain trade, and biotechnology associations throughout the U.S. agricultural value chain. There are currently nine products, including four soybean products, which have already received positive European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinions and completed the subsequent review process, but are still awaiting final authorization for import for food and feed use from the EU’s College of Commissioners.
In a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman, the groups encouraged the Administration to contact EU Commission President Barroso to ensure action on the pending events in September and to ask the EU to respect its obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) to make timely regulatory decisions on new biotechnology applications.
In a letter to the EU Commission, the groups stated that “the time required for EU decisions on new biotech crops has only lengthened in recent years and no authorizations have been issued since November 2013. Some of the products have been before the European Commission since the end of 2013 and were submitted to EFSA more than five years ago.
“Several of these products are already being commercialized under stewardship programs in the U.S. and elsewhere, and failure to approve them at the meeting of the College of Commissioners in September will increase the risk of trade disruptions during the coming months.”
The letters emphasized that the delays could cause feed shortages and price increases, which would affect European producers, traders, livestock industry and consumers.