Talks stymied on GM trade protocol

19 February 1999

Talks stymied on GM trade protocol

TALKS at the United Nations Conference on biodiversity are deadlocked over an initiative by developed countries towards a protocol for global trade in genetically modified (GM) organisms.

More than 170 countries are seeking to approve the protocol, which aims to establish rules for the handling and transportation of GM organisms, crops and other products using biotechnology.

One issue is whether the protocol should be limited to the trade of GM organisms or whether it should include their derivatives, such as drugs, vaccines, processed foods and cotton products.

Another is whether the protocol should oblige exporters of GM organisms to provide paperwork for each shipment, an idea which producer countries consider unworkable.

Greenpeace has called for a five-year moratorium on the use of GM organisms, saying that too little is known about their effect on human health and the environment.

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