Biotech To Be Included in NAFTA

 

Biotechnology was never included in the original North American Free Trade Agreement because it had not been com­­­­­­mercialized by the early nineties. But NAFTA now needs a biotech section, says Ag Biotech Subcommittee Chair Rodney Davis.  He raised the issue at a hearing with commodity groups on efforts to update NAFTA…

In your testimony, you mentioned the commercialization of biotechnology that occurred after the US ratified NAFTA, and as the chairman of that subcommittee that has jurisdiction over biotechnology issues, I’m really interested in hearing your opinion on what can be biotechnology’s role in a future renegotiation.”

US Grains Council Trade Policy Chief Floyd Gaibler…

“There’s been over 660 products assessed over that 20 years, and every government uses fairly similar risk assessment processes to do that, and there’s been an effort to come up with ways to share that information.”

In ways that lead to speedier approval of GMO crops or products…

“The other country looking to approve it could say ‘yeah, we’ll review that documentation and if meets our scientific rigor, we’ll do that, rather than repeating the whole process.”

Gaibler says including that shortcut in NAFTA could be “foundational” for future bilateral negotiations. China and the EU have barred U.S. GMO grain and meat products for years. Thomas Hammer heads the National Oilseed Processors Association…

“We wouldn’t have even contemplated this in 1993, one of the areas where modernization is so necessary.  And it does have so much to do with the marketability and the fundability of our grain trade, globally.  This is high priority for NOPA and virtually everyone in our value chain.”

Chairman Davis agreed, citing the need for biotech growth to grow more food on less land to feed a soaring world population.


A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.

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