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WTO and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

The United States has led a global campaign, including in the WTO, to force broader market access for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), in spite of opposition to GMOs in many developing nations based on the fact that the seeds are patented. Thus, poor farmers are forbidden to save and replant them, meaning that those most susceptible to hunger would not be able to afford to use GM seeds even if they were proven to be safe. There is also emerging evidence of health and environmental risks that have produced deep-seated popular resistance to GMOs in many additional countries. By claiming GMOs as substantially equivalent to non-GM foods, and by sabotaging negotiations for a UN Biosafety Protocol to regulate these products, the United States and other major exporters of GMOs have even argued that the labeling of GMOs would be an “unfair” barrier to trade.

While GMO crops are often touted as way to reduce world hunger, such claims are attempts to favorably recast an issue that is really about large commercial interests. Recent research has shown that there is no significant yield increase using GM crops, only increased environmental risks.


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