WTO: RUSSIA WELCOMES US TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CREATION OF ITS BIOSAFETY REGULATION
Eremurus Club/CIS Alliance for Biosafety, Russia
In frame of the bilateral agreement signed on the 19th of November by the US and Russia's economic and trade officials there was also a specific GMO document: US Russia Side Letter on Biotechnology.
Despite the fact that in this letter nothing is said about rejection of labeling regulation on which US insisted during the negotiations (it was mentioned by President Putin at Civil G8 meeting in July in Moscow: Within Russia's WTO negotiations process one of the main requirements that was brought by some countries is to reject regulations aimed at informing of public on GMOs in food products), this letter provides an opportunity for US lobby to influence the biosafety related decision making process. This influence will range from consumer rights regulation to GM crops registration regime.
It will mean the following:
List of GM products approved for human consumption will be extensively enlarged;
Active measures will be undertaken to reject legislative barriers on the way of GM crops commercialization in Russia;
Mandatory labeling regulation will be attacked.
The CIS Alliance for Biosafety takes a dim view of this letter; it will bring problems for local authorities, for food producers and consumers. The fact that GMO issues are separated in a side document is evidence that Russia in the nearest future will face an unprecedented pressure from the USA.
'By putting a signature under this agreement the Russian party in fact has accepted a mechanism of direct lobbying of US interests in the sphere of biosafety regulation. Almost all the positions of this letter provide to the US a range of options to influence GMO situation in Russia', Victoria Kopeykina of the CIS Alliance for Biosafety claimed.
Russian NGOs will examine this document on its compliance with the Russian Constitution.
Full text of the Side Letter (PDF, English) is available here: