The International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision
Biotechnology was released in Geneva by the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures on October 26, 2018. At the
Committee's meeting on November 1-2, 2018, WTO members discussed the role
that precision biotechnology techniques can play in agricultural innovation,
with a view to providing farmers around the world with access to tools that
increase productivity while preserving environmental sustainability.
The communication is being circulated at the request of delegations from
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala,
Honduras, Paraguay, the United States of America, and Uruguay. Thirteen
member countries (Argentina, Australia, Brasil, Canada, Colombia, The
Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraquay, Uruquay and the
USA), 10 of each planted Biotech crops in 2017, have supported the
international statement. The effort in drafting the statement began in
Argentina during the "Seminar on Genome Editing for Regulators", organized
by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in
April 2018. The Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States
has also supported the statement.
The WTO communication states that "precision biotechnology techniques, as a
whole, constitute an essential tool for agricultural innovation. Their use
provides farmers with access to products that increase productivity while
preserving environmental sustainability."
The United States has expressed strong support for the international
statement through Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who said "Precision
biotechnologies such as genome editing hold great promise for both farmers
and consumers around the world." In Canada, the Minister of Agriculture and
Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay is pleased that his country joined the support.
Minister MacAulay said "Today, we are sending a strong message that we stand
ready to work with our global partners in support of transparent,
predictable and science-based regulatory approaches to reduce potential
trade disruptions and allow for the commercialization of precision