June 7, 2019 / 11:32 AM / 2 months ago

U.S. to revise genetically modified organism regulations: WTO filing

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States is planning to revise its regulations on importing, transporting and releasing genetically modified organisms, it told the World Trade Organization in a filing published on Friday.

The proposal from the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the first comprehensive revision of the regulations since they were established in 1987, aims to reduce the regulatory burden to reflect advances in genetic engineering and better understanding of plant pest risks, it said.

“This...would provide a clear, predictable, and efficient regulatory pathway for innovators, facilitating the development of new and novel genetically engineered organisms that are unlikely to pose plant pest risks,” it said.

The new rules would exempt plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional techniques, since breeders are increasingly breeding GMOs that were indistinguishable from the original plant. One example being those that have been modified to introduce certain traits much more quickly than normal.

APHIS said the proposed exemptions followed a statement in March 2018 by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in which he pledged to allow innovation where there was no risk present.

APHIS said it was seeking comments until August 5 but said there was no specified date for the new rules to be adopted or come into force.

The 28-page APHIS document is available here

Reporting by Tom Miles; editing by Jason Neely and Kirsten Donovan

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