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Dutch trader says new EU transgenic import rules to increase costs

(Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2002 -- CropChoice news) --

Reuters: AMSTERDAM - Hans de Keijzer of the Royal Dutch Grain and Feed Trade Association said Tuesday that strict new European Union rules on importing genetically modified crops will push up costs and might be unworkable, adding, "We will have to see how it is implemented, but it might be impractical."

De Keijzer was further cited as saying that if the rules are meant to ensure that shipments of GM crops can be traced from "farm to fork," multiple tests would be necessary at different stages of transport for a range of GM crops.

First, tests for various GM varieties being grown in the country of origin would be necessary before a bulk shipment departed. When bulk shipments arrived at their initial destination, for instance the world's busiest port Rotterdam, they were typically divided into separate lots for various customers.

A trader in Germany said, "Right now there are more questions than answers, but it looks like it will put the industry in Europe at a big economic disadvantage. There's also a potential big risk to shippers."

A representative of EU grain trade lobby Coceral said the group had not read the text of the regulations and so could not comment. A European representative of U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill, a major shipper of grains and oilseeds, declined to comment, referring enquiries to Coceral.

Britain and the Netherlands voted against the rules, which now need approval by the European parliament, saying they would prove too costly for bulk shippers.