The European Union’s Efforts to Sidestep the WTO through its Ban on GMOs: A Response to Sarah Lively’s Paper, “The ABCs and NTBS of GMOs”

Claus, Johannes S.A. III | January 1, 2003

The purpose of this paper is to refute Ms. Sarah Lively’s article, the ABCs and NTBS of GMOs, detailing the reasons why the E.U. legislation is not in harmony with the WTO agreements. This paper will argue that if a WTO dispute settlement body were to decide upon the validity of the current European GMO regime, it would strike down the regulation as contrary to the WTO agreements signed by the European Union and the United States. The European Union’s four year moratorium on GMOs continues to be one of the most hotly-contested trade issues facing it and the United States. Officially, U.S. patience with the E.U. refusal to process applications for biotechnology imports is “growing very thin.” Currently, the U.S. Trade Representative is considering filing a case against the European Union in the WTO. Given the diametrically opposed positions of the United States and the European Union on this issue, the debate over GMO regulation will most likely be resolved before an international dispute settlement body, not through bilateral agreement of the parties. The premise of this article is that if the WTO resolves this dispute, it will decide in favor of the United States.