EU-US food safety deal

22 June 1999

EU-US food safety deal

THE European Union and USA have pledged action to avert disputes over food safety and other issues.

They have agreed to set up an early warning system under which each side would alert the other to pending legislation that could have an impact on trade.

No breakthroughs were made at the bi-annual summit in trade disputes over issues such as hormone-treated beef and bananas.

But the USA said it was happy how discussions proceeded on food safety.

US trade representative Charlene Barshefsky said the EU had reacted “very positively” to US demands that it makes its regulatory system more open and science-based.

She said the USA hoped to narrow substantially its ban on EU pork and poultry imports, imposed after the discovery of the cancer-causing chemical dioxin in Belgian livestock.

The USA and EU plan to take a first step towards narrowing their differences about genetically modified foods by conducting a pilot programme in which their regulatory authorities would evaluate in parallel new biotechnology products.

The plans were announced after talks between US President Bill Clinton, Chancellor Gerhard Schroder and Jacques Santer, caretaker president of the European Commission.

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