|The IPC's technology program covers
agricultural technology and its relationship to trade and trade policy.
GM Technology and Developing Countries: In 2003, the IPC began developing a paper addressing trade, GM technology and developing countries. The paper was discussed at the 31st IPC Plenary Meeting in Mexico City (May 2003) and the 32nd IPC Plenary Meeting in New Delhi (November 2003). Click Here
The Economic Impacts of the Biosafety Protocol: The IPC is collaborating with the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) to analyze the economic impact of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafetys (BSP) requirements for transboundary shipment of living modified organisms and non-living modified organisms on the international grain trade. A Study authored by Dr. N. Kalaitzandonakes of the University of Missouri, entitled, "The Potential Impacts of the Biosafety Protocol on Agricultural Commodity Trade," was published on December 10, 2005 as an IPC Technology Issue Brief.
Since the early stages of the GM technology revolution, proponents have argued that GM technology would benefit developing countries. Fifteen years after the first experimental field plantings and eight years after the first large-scale commercialization of GM crops, developing countries account for only one-third of the global acreage. The IPC's paper sets out the issues facing developing countries in the development, use and trade of GM crops and the role that the private sector, on its own and through public-private partnerships, could play in increasing opportunities and reducing risks. The paper identifies lessons learned and best practices and suggests some ways forward in the safe and responsible use of GM crops in the developing world.
On September 11, 2003 a new international agreement affecting the transboundary movement of agricultural commodities - the Biosafety Protocol (BSP) - entered into force. In 2005, signatories to the Biosafety Protocol will make critical decisions about how to regulate trade in Living Modified Organisms (LMOs or seeds) destined for use in food, feed and processing. Because the BSP is a mandatory, global labeling system that applies to all LMOs traded internationallly, its impact will be pervasive throughout global agriculture. Depending on the decisions governments make-about labeling, testing, thresholds and unapproved events-in the coming months, the additional costs of shipping maize, soybeans, canola and cottonseed could significantly increase the cost of food and feed to the world's consumers. While most of these additional costs would be borne by a handful of large countries that import the largest volume of food and feed grains, a disproportionate share of the costs would fall on consumers in smaller developing and least developed countries, who are least able to afford higher food and feed bills. This IPC study, authored by Professor Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes of the University of Missouri, evaluates the potential impacts of various options under consideration so that the Protocol can be implemented in the most effective and least costly manner.
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Updated July 28, 2004