regulations, legislation, precautionary principle, regulatory measures, directives, U.S.-E.U. relations

Document Type



In the last several years, European Union (E.U.) policy has encouraged development of biotechnology, including genetically modified (GM) (that is, bioengineered) agricultural crops. The E.U. developed a strategy for life sciences and biotechnology, directed toward improving the competitiveness of the European biotechnology sector and the general situation for European biotechnology. E.U. documents have acknowledged the potential significance of genetically modified crops-for example, the conclusion in a recent report that "the potential of plant genomics and biotechnology to deliver major advances in our lifestyles and prosperity is enormous. [Biotechnology] can also maintain and enhance the competitiveness of E.U. farmers and food producers." Nonetheless, producers and consumers in the E.U. have been reluctant to grow GM crops or to consume GM foods, and scientists disagree about the risks and net benefits of GM crops and food products. European Community (E.C.) legislators enacted new regulatory measures only after long deliberation, and some Member States continue to object to the use of GM crops and foods in their territories.