Argentina cuts GM red tape

The following is an edited excerpt.

Argentina has streamlined its biotech crop regulatory framework to ensure neither red tape nor international trading partners’ policies hold up commercialization. The country, one of the first to embrace biotech crops, relied for two decades on a hodgepodge of agencies and rules to govern genetically modified (GM) crop commercialization.

A 2010 reform established a new Ministry for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, which updated and consolidated rules in 2012. This spring, the Ministry packaged those rules in a single booklet for commercial and academic growers. Under the old rules, GM crops that had already passed food safety and environmental impact assessments still needed commercial approval. The commercial committee exercised a so-called mirror policy of approving for cultivation only GM crops that trading partners, such as the European Union, had approved for import. That policy led to one crop being held up for a total of 12 years, says the Ministry’s biotech director, Martín Lema.

Read the full paper here: Argentina cuts GM red tape

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