The processes by which different countries regulate genetically modified crops vary, which can lead to billions of dollars in disrupted trade.
Differing regulations led to a huge corn kerfuffle between China and the United States in 2013.
With that background, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wanted to know what the United States policy is for importing genetically modified crops from other countries.
“What I really want to know here is, what is our own government’s policy?” he said, “because I think we have to have a consistent policy within our own government.”
Grassley told reporters Tuesday that after calling five different federal agencies he had no clear answer.
Grassley’s interest in the U.S. policy stems from a desire to reach a worldwide agreement on trade in GM commodities. He says right now some countries have a zero-tolerance policy for any GM traits their own regulators have not approved. Until an American policy can be stated clearly, the U.S. is not in a good position to negotiate.
“We ought to have a coherent policy so that we have an intellectually honest approach when we challenge other countries,” Grassley said.
Grassley says getting biotech regulations “correct” is important for the present and the future of global trade. It’s also important for farm state constituents who don’t want to be caught with millions of bushels of grain unsold.
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