U.S., WTO partners sign biotech statement

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WASHINGTON — The United States has joined 12 other nations to support policies that enable agricultural innovation, including genome editing.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Nov. 2 that the International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology was released in Geneva at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

The underlying objective is to coordinate efforts to ensure that the regulatory approaches for these techniques, which include gene editing, are “scientifically based and internationally harmonized.”

“Precision biotechnologies such as genome editing hold great promise for both farmers and consumers around the world,” said Perdue.

“Unfortunately, such technologies too often face regulatory roadblocks that are based on misinformation and political posturing. Therefore, it’s gratifying to see Argentina and other allies come together under the WTO umbrella to publicly embrace science-based regulatory systems that will allow us to unlock the huge potential of these new technologies.”

Who’s in

Countries and organizations supporting the statement, to date, are: Argentina, which led this effort, as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, the United States, Uruguay, Vietnam and the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States.

Here is the text of the joint statement, which is being updated as additional countries sign on.

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