BIOSAFETY PACT MUST COMPLEMENT WTO, US SAYS
By Doug Palmer
WASHINGTON - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman was cited as telling reporters Thurs. that a proposed agreement to protect biological diversity and regulate trade in genetically modified organisms must be consistent with World Trade Organisation rules, adding that, "We want to make sure that whatever is agreed to in Montreal is complementary to WTO procedures and rules. We would not want to see anything that's in conflict." The story notes that representatives from 134 countries are gathering in Montreal to try to finish negotiations on a U.N.-sponsored Biosafety Protocol. The story notes that the EU wants the protocol to cover food safety issues related to genetically modified crops. But the United States is opposed to that and has tried to keep the talks focused on the environmental aspects of genetically modified organisms. The United States also wants language to ensure that the protocol does not override the rights and obligations of countries under other international agreements, such as the WTO. The story also notes that a group of 17 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Representative Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, sided with the EU on the issue, stating, "In our view, the WTO is wholly unsuited to conduct this function because it has shown little concern for environmental health and safety."