US chief negotiator in the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, Michael Froman, said he was disappointed that the European Commission had made it possible for Member States to ‘opt out’ on imports of genetically-modified food and feed, also known as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). US Trade Representative said that the Commission’s new proposals allow Member States to ignore environmental facts and research-based scientific evidence.
“We are very disappointed by today’s announcement of a regulatory proposal that appears hard to reconcile with the EU’s international obligations. Moreover, dividing the EU into 28 separate markets for the circulation of certain products seems at odds with the EU’s goal of deepening the internal market,” Mr Froman said. He added that “at a time when the US and the EU are working to create further opportunities for growth and jobs through TTIP, proposing this kind of trade restrictive action is not constructive”.
The European Commission said that it would allow Member States to choose not to stick to the approval system of GMOs with the objective to give the governments of Member States autonomy over how they deal with the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms. Mr Froman’s criticism follows the previous concerns of the European Association of Bioindustries, or EuropeaBio, which said that the legislation would undermine internal market mechanisms and thus endanger jobs, innovation, and competitiveness. Almost a decade ago, the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that the bans of GMO products made by individual Member States had violated trade rules. As Mr Froman put it, since then Washington has been trying to “normalize” agricultural trade with the EU.