A new government proposal in Ukraine would permit the production and sale of genetically modified soybeans and corn in the country if it becomes law. The proposal marks a shift in Ukraine’s stance toward GM crops, which has been negative until now.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food has submitted the proposal to the Cabinet for consideration, it was recently reported. Six Ukrainian agricultural associations supported the proposal, along with several Ukrainian agricultural experts. The proposal is anticipated to become law before the end of the year.

The country has had its “On Biosafety” law, which has prohibited the use of GM products or GM seed. However, the possible economic benefits are swaying those in government and research that the adoption of GM crops would be financially beneficial for the country and its farmers.

“We could mull over this issue for a long time, but we, jointly with the associations, have signed two letters to change the law on biosecurity, in which we propose the legalization of the use of GM seeds, which had been tested in the United Stated for a long time, for our producers,” said President of the Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA) Volodymyr Klymenko at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine.

The Ukrainian market is expected to attract leading global agricultural companies to the region as other European countries have restricted the growth of the GM crop industry in Europe. It is speculated that the Ukraine could become a key producer of GM products in Europe over the next five to seven years, which could spur growth in corn production and thereby increase exports.