Title: The global pipeline of new GM crops: implications of asynchronous approval for international trade
Authors: STEIN Alexander JivrajRODRIGUEZ CEREZO Emilio
Publisher: European Commission
Publication Year: 2009
JRC Publication N°: JRC51799
ISBN: 978-92-79-12603-1
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 23846 EN
OPOCE LF-NA-23846-EN-C
URI: http://ipts.jrc.ec.europa.eu/publications/pub.cfm?id=2420
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC51799
DOI: 10.2791/12087
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: In this report we described the current status of GM crops approved worldwide and the likely future developments for the short to medium term, for all relevant crops from all countries. Everywhere the commercialisation of these new GM crops is a regulated activity and different countries have different authorisation procedures. Therefore new GM crops do not get simultaneously approved in all countries. This "asynchronous approval" (AA) of GM crops is of growing concern for its potential economic impact on international trade, especially if crop importing countries operate a "zero tolerance" policy that may result in rejections of imports that contain only traces of not yet authorised GMOs; a similar problem of "low-level presence" (LLP) of unapproved GM material in imports arises when developers of new GM crops did not seek approval for commercialisation in export markets in the first place. In the EU both AA and LLP have already caused trade disruption and economic problems, in particular for the EU feed and livestock sectors. To forecast the future evolution of AA/LLP, expected new GM crops were classified in five categories according to their proximity to market, they were discussed crop-wise, and their possible authorisation by the different trading partners of the EU were considered. The prediction is that while currently there are around 30 commercial GM events cultivated worldwide, by 2015 there will be over 120. Therefore, if problems of AA/LLP have occurred with 30 events in the market, these are likely to intensify when moving from 30 to 120 available events. Moreover, individual GM events can easily be combined ("stacked") by conventional cross-breeding. Given the growing pipeline of individual events, it is evident that in countries where stacked GM crops are required to go through the regulatory system as a new GM crop, this will create an increasingly large number of new "approvable" GMOs. Yet, apart from AA, also the issue of LLP of is bound to increase with more of the new GM crops being developed by national technology providers in Asia for their domestic agricultural markets, as these developers may not submit all of their GM crops for approval in potential export markets. Overall it is expected that next to the current major GM crops (soybeans, maize, rapeseed and cotton) and some minor ones, in the medium term also GM potatoes and GM rice will be commercialised. Apart from the current main traits (insect resistance, herbicide tolerance or a combination of both), new commercial traits covering crop composition and abiotic stress tolerance will become available. For stakeholders in the global food and feed chain the main problem of AA/LLP is the economic risk of rejections of shipments at the EU border. Part of this problem consists of the "destination risk", i.e. the official testing for unauthorised GM material in the port of destination only ¿ when a cancellation of the shipment is impossible and when its re-direction is costly. Also, given the bulk handling of grains in international trade, compliance with a zero tolerance threshold for LLP is impossible. Therefore exporters may choose to sell their grain to "preferred buyers" who are known to create little problems. Moreover, the price of grain is determined based on quality and quantity with a strong relationship between price, specifications and risk ¿ the latter of which is increased if there is uncertainty whether compliance with LLP regulations is possible. Or, if the risk cannot be managed, there will be no trade at all. Higher prices and potential supply bottlenecks also mean that EU businesses that are dependent on cheap imports of agricultural commodities, like livestock farming, may have to relocate abroad.
JRC Institute:Institute for Prospective Technological Studies

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