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USA and 15 Other Nations Slam EU Rules of Farm Products at WTO

The US and 15 other countries launched a broadside of criticism at the European Union on Thursday, saying its “hazard-based” strategy to controlling pesticides and other “important tools” employed farmers was damaging livelihoods worldwide.

Their assertion, submitted to the World Trade Organization, stated the EU’s strategy created significant ambiguity and diverged from science-based threat assessments, creating separation that threatened to intensify significantly in coming years.

They called on the EU to reconsider its strategy for product approvals, use internationally accepted methods of setting permission levels for potentially dangerous elements, and stop “unnecessarily and inappropriately” restricting commerce.

The assertion was backed by Australia, Canada, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colambia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Malaysia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and the US.

They stated farmers needed to be able to access the “complete array of safe instruments and know-how” to meet the problem of producing more food.

“But, our farmers’ selection of safe instruments is more and more impaired by regulatory obstacles that aren’t founded on internationally agreed risk evaluation rules and don’t consider different procedures to meeting regulatory goals,” they stated.

“That is already having a substantial unfavorable effect on the production, and business of, healthy food and agricultural products, an impact that’s more likely to increase sooner or later.”

The assertion sent for debate at the WTO’s Council for Trade in Goods later in June, mentioned the EU had effectively blocked some substances that other WTO members thought to be safe.

Regardless of repeated requests at the WTO over the last four years, the EU had not described what level of safety it was in search of or what risks it was attempting to mitigate, and it had ignored comments on draft laws, they said.

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