On Oct. 30, 2018, an International Statement on “Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology” was released at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. That statement reiterates an international commitment to the fair, science-based treatment of evolving plant breeding methods, like gene editing, around the world. To date, Argentina, which led this effort, 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 have endorsed the statement.
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) recently joined 17 other national organizations representing agriculture and science communities in commending the governments that initiated and supported the statement “as a positive step toward improved international coordination. This is crucial to the ability of breeders to utilize new and innovative methods, to increasing choice for farmers and to maintaining trade in agricultural products.”
The groups believe the statement appropriately recognizes that “precision biotechnology products have the potential to play a critical role in addressing the challenges facing agricultural production…” and that “cooperative work by governments to minimize unnecessary barriers to trade related to the regulatory oversight of products of precision biotechnology, including the exploration of opportunities for regulatory and policy alignment, should be pursued where possible.”
“This is a strong showing of support by governments around the world in recognition of the necessity of continued evolution in plant breeding, and the critical role that it will play in ensuring a more sustainable and secure global food production system,” said American Seed Trade Association President & CEO Andrew LaVigne.
View the full statement and list of signing organizations here.
USW supports finding new ways to improve wheat quality and increase production with less impact on the environment. New research in biotechnology and plant breeding innovation, including gene editing, will help make this possible. To learn more, visit our website at https://www.uswheat.org/policy/innovation-and-sustainability/.