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Fischler tackles WTO over food safety

04 September 1997
Fischler tackles WTO over food safety

EUROPES agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler attacked the World Trade Organisations lack of “democratic control”, alleging it posed a threat to the food safety agendas of individual countries.

Speaking at the London food safety conference, which ended yesterday, Fischler appeared to question the (WTOs) authority to enforce multilateral rules.

US officials were reportedly amazed at the commissioners comments.

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Fischler tackles WTO over food safety

04 September 1997
Fischler tackles WTO over food safety

EUROPES agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler expressed his frustration over the World Trade Organisations recent ruling against the EUs ban on hormone treated beef.

Mr Fischler said the WTOs lack of “democratic control” posed a threat to the food safety agendas of individual countries.

Last month, the WTO ruled that the EUs eight-year ban on beef produced with hormones was illegal.

But the Financial Times leader says he shot himself and the European Union in the foot when he spoke by video-link at the food safety conference in London by appearing to question the (WTOs) authority to enforce multilateral rules.

The newspaper says the solution lies in international negotiations to improve or modify the rules and not, as Fischler believes, in exercising more “democratic control” over the WTO. US officials were amazed by the commissioners comments.

The Financial Times says his inference that government should be able to influence WTO trades disputes procedures and to procure judgements favourable to them, is “dangerous nonsense”. It raises serious doubts about Fischlers commitment to promoting freer agricultural trade.

Fischler also said more information was needed for European consumers on the “risks” linked with genetically-modified food products. Controversy centres on how they should be labelled.

  • Financial Times 04/09/97 page 1, page 25, page 26

  • Fischler unhappy with WTO ruling, FWi, yesterday (September 3)

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