Johnson cultivates Trump trade deal with GMO’s
By TruePublica: In his first prime ministerial speech, Boris Johnson called for a “liberation” of the U.K.’s bioscience sector after leaving the EU much to the delight of the American bioscience industry. This is a clear public warning that a UK/US trade deal will be including GMO food products.
“Let’s start now to liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti genetic modification rules,” Johnson said, “ and let’s develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world,” he added. But did Johnson actually mean the UK’s bioscience sector? No, because as well as he, the agricultural and bioscience industries know full well, in Britain, trials have only just started with results not expected for another five years and even then permission has only been granted for field trials looking to extract beneficial oils such as Omega 3 type fish oils from plants.
The discussion over science-based policymaking in the EU, in general, has recently heated up, as the Trump administration wants access to new markets. The US is heavily pressuring EU negotiators who continue to refuse the sale of GMO food products for human consumption. GMO’s are banned in Europe after years of extensive research that has not proved beyond doubt that they are safe. The precautionary principle adopted by the EU is the opposite of the USA which requires harm to be proven for a product ban.
Public opinion against GMOs is well-rooted in the EU and UK and will be hard to overturn even if that threatens the signing of a UK/US trade deal.
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The US is already piling pressure on the UK to open the doors to GMOs in order to seal a post-Brexit trade deal – and Johnson and his new cabinet are clearly encouraging that idea irrespective of the potential negative reaction this may cause. If GMOs are let into the food chain, then so will growth hormone raised beef and chlorine-washed chickens along with a sudden drop in good animal welfare practices in Britain. It will be part of the trade deal – ‘no ifs, no buts’.
Nick von Westenholz, director for EU exit and international trade in the UK National Farmers Union, told EURACTIV last February that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK should not rush to strike a trade deal with countries like the United States.
“The notion that in a no-deal situation we are going to look to the US and tighten something up very quickly to get us out of the mess, I think it’s compounding the problem,” he said. “There is no doubt and the US government and the industry have made it clear that they would expect that. They clearly find the EU approach to sanitary issues like GMOs unjustified. They would prefer the EU to have another approach and they will have a similar approach with the UK in the trade talks,” he added.