The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed news Oct. 28 of the European Parliament’s overwhelming rejection of a proposal that would allow individual EU member states to opt-out of importing and using foods containing biotechnology for non-scientific reasons. The body voted 619-58 to approve a committee report recommending opposition to the controversial “opt-out” proposal. ASA President and Texas farmer Wade Cowan issued the following statement on today’s vote:
“This is a much-needed action today by the European Parliament. ASA has repeatedly called on the EU to make science-based decisions on the issue of biotechnology, and we are very happy to see the Europeans do so this morning. One of the unifying principles of the EU is to provide a single market, both within Europe and as a partner in in global commerce. Enabling each of its 28 member states to go rogue on GMO acceptance, based on societal or political concerns, is hardly a unifying strategy for success.
“Soybean farmers welcome today’s news as we look to expand our European markets for animal feed, edible oils, biodiesel and biobased products. Europe is a top-five market for American soybeans, and we looking forward to further expanding our trade relationship.
Moving forward, the Commission has been directed by the EU Parliament to come up with a new proposal. However, in our view, it would be more appropriate for the EU to use its own existing procedures to approve new biotech products rather than trying to come up with another approach. The Commission just needs to do its job by following its own regulations and procedures.”