Key Senators Urge USDA, USTR to Address Ag Biotech Barriers with Trading Partners

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A letter sent to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis by 26 Senators urges continued attention by the U.S. Government on international trade issues associated with the use of agricultural biotechnology.

"Trade disruptions caused by barriers to biotechnology-derived crops hurt both American farmers and the international customers they serve," the letter says.  "Regulatory asynchrony, zero tolerance policies and re-registration requirements are among the most prevalent and costly regulatory hurdles."

The letter was signed by 15 Democrats and 11 Republicans including:  Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga,), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) applauded the action by the 26 Senators and for making international regulatory predictability a trade policy priority for the U.S. agriculture sector.  "We value Senator Stabenow's and Senator Grassley's leadership on this important issue," said Jim Greenwood, BIO President and CEO.

"Agricultural exports contribute significantly to the U.S. economy. The USDA estimates that as much as 90 percent of commodity crop acres utilize seeds improved through modern biotechnology," said Greenwood. "To maintain stability in the U.S. ag sector, it’s crucial that government officials improve the trade environment and remove barriers to biotech crops."

A signed copy of the letter is posted online here.

A news release issued by Senator Grassley’s office is posted online here.


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