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The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled in favor of the United States in an ongoing trade dispute over genetically modified organisms (GMOs), saying in an 800-page decision that the European Union (EU) improperly broke international regulations by restricting their import into EU countries.

The New York Times reports that the “decision, which was not made public but was discussed by federal trade officials, also represents a victory for the agricultural biotechnology industry, which for years has been battling opposition to its products from consumers and governments in Europe and some other countries.”

According to the NYT, because the decision has not been made public, it remains possible that the WTO could change its mind, though that would be considered unusual. Once it is made public, both parties have the right to appeal.

And, the Times reports, “Europe had argued that it did not have a moratorium but that it just took time to weigh the possible risks to health and environment posed by genetic engineering. It said it needed to take a ‘precautionary’ approach to regulation as opposed to Washington's "laissez-faire" stance.”

The decision is not expected to result in the EU being bombarded by GM crops and foods, because of ongoing consumer antipathy about them. But, as the Times reports, US government and industry officials wanted the ruling so that “it would help discourage other countries from adopting similar barriers and would set a precedent that countries must have sound scientific reasons for rejecting genetically modified crops.”

The US was joined in the complaint by Canada and Argentina. The appeal to the WTO also maintained that “six European countries — Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg — violated trade rules by banning even biotech crops that had been approved by the European Commission,” according to the NYT.
KC's View:
Again, we have the same observation. How would the US react to the WTO forcing us to take GM products and crops if the positions were reversed?