WTO delays ruling in GMO dispute until next week

Original Publication Date: 
29 January, 2006

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has again delayed a ruling, due on Wednesday, in a closely watched dispute over the European Union's policy on genetically modified foods and crops (GMO), diplomats said on Monday.

They said that the preliminary decision in a row pitting the EU against the United States, Canada and Argentina was now expected around the beginning of next week.

"They have told us that it will not be out on Wednesday," said one diplomat from a country involved.

In 2004, Brussels officially ended a 6-year embargo on biotech crops and foods to allow some imports. But its opponents in the case say that EU states are still restricting entry of GMOs, and in some cases banning them.

Growers in Argentina, Canada and the United States say that the EU stance limits their right to trade and that the policy is not scientifically based, as WTO rules demand.

Trade sources said the ruling in the complex case is going to be one of the longest ever issued by the Geneva-based trade watchdog, with the text running to several hundred pages.