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US considered trade war over GM crops

The Local · 5 Jan 2011, 08:36

Published: 05 Jan 2011 08:36 GMT+01:00

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The paper’s Wednesday edition reported that the US Ambassador in Paris, Craig Stapleton – a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush – urged Washington in 2007 to penalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops.

"Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.

"The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices," said Stapleton, who co-owned with Bush the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Germany, along with many European neighbours, opposed the use of the US biotech firm’s genetically-modified corn, MON 810 and eventually banned the corn in 2009.

Story continues below…

The Local

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:00 January 5, 2011 by reprap
GM stands for General Motors. Quit being lazy and spell out the words: genetically modified .
09:18 January 5, 2011 by auniquecorn
I thought they wanted to start a trade war over Gay Marriage.
11:42 January 5, 2011 by Yanni Depp
Getting back on topic: One of the biggest problems with genetically modified crops is that they can be patented. The documentary movie 'Food Inc.' gives good insight into the problems that have occurred in the US.

In the US, a company called Monsanto developed a pesticide-resistant soya bean. They patented it. A lot of farmers bought it. These farmers are now unable to save their seeds for replanting the next year (something they have done for centuries), because it's patent infringement. The crops pollenate with other soya beans, and suddenly innocent farmers are being sued for patent violation because these patented GM soy beans are growing in their field due to cross-pollenation. Monsanto sue whoever they want, and it's up to the plaintiff to prove they have NOT violated patents, not the other way round. Farmers can't afford the legal fees so they settle out of court even if they're innocent.

What's more, Monsanto have grown so popular that it's very, very hard to get any other kind of soya bean.
12:27 January 5, 2011 by marimay
Food Inc. is a good movie. Scary though...
12:36 January 5, 2011 by xx.weirich.xx
GMO, Genetically Modified Organism.

I guess people should have considered this when they started buying the crops in the first place.

I myself see no problem with GMO.
14:00 January 5, 2011 by jamano

US food companies want to make non-GM labeling illegal. Scary food policy.
14:32 January 5, 2011 by cheerios
Yanni Depp - Ohmigosh. I can't believe these huge corporations sueing the poor farmers like that! What's the world coming to?
14:45 January 5, 2011 by storymann
Yanni Depp,,that is a good point,,,,I personally do not see a big problem with GMO,especially in a world with an ever growing population. The Bio fuels produced from plants are taking up a large portion of land that use to grow,crops which has had an impact on prices world wide..The other issue is the use of pesticides,which are greatly reduced with GMO,,good and bad,,but I am more favorable towards the GMO.
16:53 January 5, 2011 by jamano
@ storymann

It's somehow widely accepted that GM crops increase yield. This is perhaps the biggest argument of Monsanto. And this is totally a distortion of truth.

As written in Monsanto's article: “The most common traits in GM crops are herbicide tolerance (HT) and insect resistance (IR). HT plants contain genetic material from common soil bacteria. IR crops contain genetic material from a bacterium that attacks certain insects.”

In other words herbicide tolerant plants and insect resistant plants do perform broadly the same function as chemical pesticides. Both the GM plants and the chemical pesticides reduce crop losses. In fact, GM plants work more or less like a bio-pesticide - the insect feeds on the plant carrying the toxin, and dies. Spraying the chemical pesticide also does the same.

In the case of HT those who buy the GM seeds have no other option but to also buy the companies own brand of herbicide. And as explained by Yanni Depp once you buy it you become Monsanto's serf for life.

In the case of IR insects are killed because plants contain toxins in levels that can be found nowhere in nature. Feeding on the plants they develop powerful abdominal corrosion. The problem for humans is that those toxins are produced by the GM plant itself and cannot be washed away as the herbicides.
22:18 January 5, 2011 by xx.weirich.xx
"In the case of HT those who buy the GM seeds have no other option but to also buy the companies own brand of herbicide." That's just business. Companies that produce technology do the same thing.

I don't see how we can continue to feed the growing population if we cannot find ways to increase crop yield. And, GMO is capable of that.
16:11 January 6, 2011 by storymann
@jamano,,thank you for the knowledgeable and interesting information,,I need to do some more reading on the subject......I was not aware of all that.
17:36 January 6, 2011 by Victoria L
I only wish the US would quit with the GMO. On top of which Soy is NOT good for you! Mansanto is NOT good for anyone. They are Pirates, Leaches and pond scum. At least the EU has sense enough not to buy that crap. Unfortunately us Americans don't have a choice, especially when the Ag department said that farmers could NOT put on their products that they were NOT GMO! If that isn't harming the American People, I don't know what is!
10:42 January 7, 2011 by tallady
I certainly hope that the Bio vegetables are not GMO...I always thought Monsanto was a company that mainly dealt in table salt. I remember back in my US teaching days that they offered a lot of movies for free to the schools. I never liked them,as they were tainted towards industry and gave the false impression that they were very environmentally conscious.
21:19 January 7, 2011 by Johnny Cash
Check out this doco if you are interested in protecting your health. Type into the youtube seach engine "The Health Dangers of Genetically Modified Foods" and get the information from proper researchers on the subject. There are plenty of other docos out there as well. We should be telling our politicians that getting the population down is the correct way to solve any food shortage problem. It wiould also make a lot of other problems go away as well but is their one western democracy doing this. It is the obvious solution so why is it not happening?
10:30 January 8, 2011 by tallady
Thanks Johnny cash,,i just watched it with a couple other videos on the subject,,Monsanto and "Roundup",,good informative video would encourage all to check it out.
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