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Checkbiotech: Changed Liability Brings New Jobs in White Biotech sector
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: October 08, 2005 05:32PM ; ;

In a TV duel with Gerhard Schroeder, Angela Merkel presented herself as a
friend of the German chemical industry, October 2005 by Kristina Laesker
translated by Shelley Jambresic, Checkbiotech.

The German CDU Party Chancellor candidate attacked the recently adopted
German GM bill. "If we alter the liability in the new GM law, green - and
especially white biotech, which is very important for the chemical
industry - will enter Germany," Merkel said. That would bring new jobs.

Though, probably only the insiders understood her comments, because Merkel
mixed what does not belong together.

The green and the white biotech are different technologies, controversial in
different ways. In the green area, genetically modified (also known as GM or
biotech) plants and foods are enhanced with the help of genetic methods, for
example, to enhance their resistance to insects or diseases. Well-known
examples are GM maize and tomatoes. Since the consequences of consummation
of GM food are not sufficiently investigated, green biotechnology is heavily

Pushed through by the red-green government of incumbent Gerhard Schroeder
last spring, the first GM bill put the liability on green biotech users.
Accordingly, farmers cultivating GM plants are financially responsible in
cases where GM crops cross with non-GM crops. If the contaminated area is
near more than one GM field, the affected farmer may choose whom to charge.

The opponents criticize that this indecisive liability creates an
unpredictable risk, and thus banishes the affected industries from Germany.
Instead, the Union promotes the adoption of a liability fond that would be
applied in cases of contamination. Financially, the fond would be equally
supported by the state and the industry.

Originally, the bill contained further improvements. Due to strong criticism
and the government?s desire to push the bill through, the bill was
eventually split. The parts, which did not need to be confirmed by the
German states, were set into the first bill.

The parts that needed to be confirmed, were put into the second bill, which
was rejected by the conciliation committee in June. The paradox is that the
second bill regulates white biotechnology, concerning which there is
widespread unity compared to the Red, Green and Black sectors.

White biotechnology includes the use of microorganisms such as bacteria,
fungi and yeast to yield products or to assist in industrial processes.
Through its use, politicians and ecologists hope to ease our impact on the
environment, since biochemical processes require less raw materials. For
example: enzymes that enhance the efficiency of detergents, enzymes that
enable one to do laundry at low temperatures, or the general usage of

White biotechnology will also boost industry on a whole. According to
forecasts from McKinsey, in 2015 nearly one sixth of the global sales of the
chemical industry will be achieved by white biotech.

Both parties agree that an alteration of the bill should facilitate
regulatory guidelines. However, the union refused an agreement. The thought
is that if the second bill concerning white biotech can be loosened, the
first bill concering green biotech could be altered as well.

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