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Government and Industry Seeks USGC Input on Biotechnology

20 September 2012
U.S. Grains Council

COLOMBIA - To ensure commercial grain shipments from the United States to Colombia are not negatively impacted by any new implemented biotechnology regulations, the US Grains Council hosted a Colombian biotech team to the United States in late August.

The team was composed of government regulators in charge of implementing a new labeling law for biotech products in Colombia. The goal of the programme was to educate the Colombian delegation on the process by which biotech events are approved and regulated in the United States. The Council also invited representatives of the Colombian corn milling industry to participate in the educational programme.

Despite the recent passage of the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the new regulation has the potential to undermine the FTA and put more three million metric tons (118 million bushels) of corn imports at risk due to "restictive" regulations pertaining to the import of grains containing biotech events, and simply is not commercially viable.

The Colombian food industry did not fully understand this regulation and the negative implications it could have on their industry. As a result of this program, they are fully engaged and ready to defend their interests.

The Colombian industry told the Council it is committed to working with its government regulators to find a solution to Colombia's international commitments while protecting the viability of the Colombian grain milling industry. In the near future, the Colombian industry will submit a counter proposal to the Colombian government which will address the key areas of concern for them (ie LLP, traceability, testing protocol, penalties, etc).

The Council is committed to working with both the Colombian industry and government to help ensure the regulations are clearly written and implement so as not to damage corn exports to Colombia nor hinder the competiveness of the Colombia food and feed sectors.

TheCropSite News Desk

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