Most nations likely to adopt protocol on GM trade

Source: Kyodo News Service/Associated Press

TOKYO, Jan. 12 (Kyodo) -- An international protocol for controlling trade of genetically modified (GM) materials is likely to be adopted by most nations at a meeting in Canada late this month thanks to a recent amendment, conference sources said Wednesday. More than 170 member countries of the Convention on Biological Diversity failed to adopt the Biosafety Protocol at a meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, last February.

Colombia's Environment Minister Juan Mayr proposed the amendment earlier this month, calling for looser restrictions to allow exporters

of GM food and feed to ship the products freely unless the importers require data on the goods' environmental effects.

The amendment requires environmental data for all GM products that would be grown after importation, such as seeds. Exporters such as the United States do not want the protocol to cover GM food and feed. They failed to reach agreement during the Colombia meeting with importers mainly from the European Union, which wants the coverage.

The protocol is likely to be adopted during a five-day convention starting Jan. 24 in Montreal, the sources said.

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