Friends of the Earth Europe
For Immediate Release: Friday 29th Sept
Brussels, 29th September 2006 – Friends of the Earth Europe has today called for alternative ways to deal with environmental trade disputes. The call comes as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) publishes its final ruling on the transatlantic trade dispute on genetically modified (GM) foods . Friends of the Earth Europe believes that there will be "no clear winners but many losers" in today's ruling, the longest in WTO history.
Adrian Bebb, GM food Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said, "Whatever the World Trade Organisation says, the dispute over genetically modified foods has created no clear winners but many losers. The public faces contaminated foods resulting from weak regulations in the United States and farmers see their livelihoods threatened by contamination. This trade dispute has been a pointless exercise that will change absolutely nothing. Europeans will continue to reject genetically modified foods." 
The WTO ruling will be substantially the same as the 'draft ruling', which was leaked to Friends of the Earth Europe in February. The draft ruling rejected most of the US-led complaints:
* It refused to rule against strict EU regulations to control the use of GM food and crops;
* It refused to rule on whether GM foods are safe or different to conventional foods;
* It rejected US claims that moratoria are illegal and did not question the right of countries to ban GM foods or crops.
However, the WTO draft ruling did rule - on technicalities - that Europe's four year GM moratorium, which ended in 2004, broke trade rules by causing "undue delays", but stated that moratoria were acceptable under certain circumstances. The WTO said national GM bans also broke trade rules, but only because the risk assessments did not comply with the WTO requirements.
Sonja Meister, Trade Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) said, "This ruling shows that the WTO is the wrong forum to deal with environmental trade disputes and the international community must find an alternative before another case occurs. The WTO ignored international environmental laws, met in secret behind closed doors and barred any public involvement, even though we have a strong public resistance against GMOs in Europe."
The Biosafety Protocol is one international agreement that was ignored by the WTO in the biotechnology trade dispute. It allows nations to use a precautionary approach, giving them the right to ban GMOs if there are concerns about their impacts on health and the environment.
Friends of the Earth Europe suggests the International Court of Arbitration or the International Court of Justice as possible alternatives to the WTO to settle trade disputes over environmental matters. 
For more information, please contact:
Adrian Bebb, GMO Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe:
Tel: +49 80 25 99 19 51; Mobile: +49 1609 4901163; Email: email@example.com
Sonja Meister, Trade Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe:
Tel: +32 25 42 61 00; Mobile: +32 484 975107; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosemary Hall, Communications Officer at Friends of the Earth Europe:
Tel: +32 25 42 61 05; Mobile: +32 485 930515; Email: email@example.com
 The final report from the WTO is due to be published at 1630 today (29th October 2006)
 Since the trade dispute started, Hungary, Greece, Austria and Poland have introduced new bans on GM products. In addition 174 European regions and 4500 smaller areas are calling for restrictions on GM crops. See http://www.gmofree-europe.org
Long grain rice imports from the United States were found to be contaminated with a genetically modified variant in August 2006. The GM rice in question was produced by the multinational Bayer. It was grown in outdoor experimental trials in the US five years ago, which probably were not contained properly, allowing contamination of conventional supplies. The rice has never been subject to a full scientific investigation and never been approved safe for human consumption. It is very likely that citizens in the EU have eaten the illegal genetically modified rice before and even since the contamination was discovered.
 "Is the WTO the only way? Safeguarding Multilateral Environmental Agreements from international trade rules and settling trade disputes outside the WTO." Briefing paper from Greenpeace, Adelphi Research and Friends of the Earth Europe.