SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOC86580 PDF
REVIEW OF ARTIFICIAL BARRIERS TO U.S. AGRICULTURAL TRADE AND
FOREIGN FOOD ASSISTANCE
COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
MARCH 26, 2003
Serial No. 1081
Printed for the use of the Committee on Agriculture
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia, Chairman
LARRY COMBEST, Texas
JOHN A. BOEHNER, Ohio
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
NICK SMITH, Michigan
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
DOUG OSE, California
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
CHARLES W. ''CHIP'' PICKERING, Mississippi
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
TOM OSBORNE, Nebraska
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
ADAM H. PUTNAM, Florida
WILLIAM J. JANKLOW, South Dakota
MAX BURNS, Georgia
JO BONNER, Alabama
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMIKE ROGERS, Alabama
STEVE KING, Iowa
CHRIS CHOCOLA, Indiana
MARILYN N. MUSGRAVE, Colorado
DEVIN NUNES, California
CHARLES W. STENHOLM, Texas,
Ranking Minority Member
COLLIN C. PETERSON, Minnesota
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
BENNIE G. THOMPSON, Mississippi
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JOE BACA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
MIKE ROSS, Arkansas
ANÍBAL ACEVEDO-VILÁ, Puerto Rico
ED CASE, Hawaii
RODNEY ALEXANDER, Louisiana
FRANK W. BALLANCE, JR., NORTH CAROLINA
DENNIS A. CARDOZA, California
DAVID SCOTT, Georgia
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJIM MARSHALL, Georgia
EARL POMEROY, North Dakota
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
KEN LUCAS, Kentucky
MIKE THOMPSON, California
MARK UDALL, Colorado
RICK LARSEN, Washington
LINCOLN DAVIS, Tennessee
WILLIAM E. O'CONNER, JR., Staff Director
KEVIN KRAMP, Chief Counsel
STEPHEN HATERIUS, Minority Staff Director
CALLISTA GINGRICH, Clerk
JAMES H.CAHILL, Printing Editor
ELYSE BAUER, Communications Director
C O N T E N T S
Ballance, Hon. Frank W. Jr., a Representative in Congress from the State of North Carolina, prepared statement
Goodlatte, Hon. Bob, a Representative in Congress from the Commonwealth of Virgina, opening statement
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Lucas, Hon. Frank D., a Representative in Congress from the State of Oklahoma, prepared statement
Smith, Hon. Nick, a Representative in Congress from the State of Michigan, prepared statement
Stenholm, Hon. Charles W., a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, opening statement
Corzine, Leon, chairman, Biotechnology Working Group, National Corn Growers Association, Assumption, IL
Letter of Janaury 29, 2003 to the President
Deegan, Michael W., president and chief executive officer, Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance
Hastert, Hon. J. Dennis, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives, and a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois
Joachim, Gary, board of directors, American Soybean Association, Claremont, MN
Juma, Calestous, director, Program for Science Technology and Innovation, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Kilama, John, president, Global Bioscience Development Institute, Wilmington, DE
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared statement
Stallman, Bob, president, American Farm Bureau Federation
Wolf, Hon. Frank R., a Representative in Congress from the Commonwealth of Virginia
Emerson, Hon. Jo Ann, a Representative in Congress from the State of Missouri, submitted statement
Letter of January 29, 2003 from Members of Congress to the President, submitted by Chairman Goodlatte
Letter from Scientists in Support of Agricultural Biotechnology, submitted by Chairman Goodlatte
''Seeds of Opportunity: An Assesment of the Benefits, Safety, and Oversight of Plant Genomics and Agricultural Biotechnology'' submitted by Mr. Smith
Wambugu, Florence, president, A Harvest Biotech Foundation, International, Nairobi, Kenya, submitted statement
REVIEW ARTIFICIAL BARRIERS TO U.S.
AGRICULTURAL TRADE AND FOREIGN
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2003
House of Representatives,
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCommittee on Agriculture,
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:10 a.m., at 1300 Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Bob Goodlatte (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Pombo, Smith, Everett, Lucas of Oklahoma, Moran, Jenkins, Gutknecht, Osborne, Graves, Janklow, Burns, Bonner, Chocola, Nunes, Stenholm, Peterson, Dooley, Holden, Etheridge, Baca, Ross, Case, Alexander, Ballance, Pomeroy, Boswell, Lucas of Kentucky, Thompson of California, and Udall.
Staff present: William E. O'Conner, Jr., staff director; Brent Gattis, deputy staff director; Lynn Gallagher, Elyse Bauer, John Goldberg, Elizabeth Parker, Callista Gingrich, clerk; Kellie Rogers, Jason Vaillancourt, Ryan Weston, Pamilyn Scott, Jon Hixson, Vernie Hubert and Chris Church.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BOB GOODLATTE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
The CHAIRMAN. Good morning. This hearing of the House Committee on Agriculture to review artificial barriers to agricultural trade and foreign food assistance will come to order. I have an opening statement.
The purpose of our hearing is to receive testimony regarding the extent and impact of artificial barriers to trade in agricultural products produced through biotechnology. The artificial barriers that face such agricultural products range from banning the product from entry into foreign markets, denying farmers the opportunity to improve their crops with such products, and preventing food from being delivered to hungry families in developing countries.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The United States is the leader in agricultural biotechnology. Modern agricultural technology is one of the most promising developments in modern science. Used in collaboration with traditional methods, it can raise crop productivity, increase resistance to pests and disease, develop tolerance to adverse weather conditions, improve the nutritional value and taste of some foods, enhance the durability of products during harvesting and shipping, and create new markets for specially tailored crops.
For example, in the early 1990's, a ring spot virus decimated Hawaii's $17 million papaya crop, which was the State's fifth largest crop. However, following 20 years of research by university scientists, in 1997, the Federal Government approved a process in which a gene was inserted into the plants that made them resistant to the ring spot virus. Hawaii's papaya crop rebounded due to biotechnology research.
This technology is not only being used in the United States, but it is also being developed for use in East Africa, Bangladesh, and parts of Asia. Other research going on includes building a gene into rice that produces more beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Up to half a million children per year go blind due to vitamin A deficiency. Other products, like beta carotene, enhanced mustard oil in India and and beta carotene enhanced maize in Africa are also being developed. New varieties of high protein corn are being developed that could help chronic deficiencies in children in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Also, researchers are now working to build a vaccine into bananas for hepatitis B. This edible vaccine could be delivered at a fraction of the cost of conventional treatment. However, the knowledge and appreciation of these benefits is not shared by all. In the United States, regulations for biotechnology foods are based on the principle that they are substantially equivalent to conventional foods. Therefore the existing regulations are appropriate for biotechnology foods and special labeling is not required. An exception to this applies if there is a significant difference, as in the case of the presence of an allergen.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Other countries require special treatment of biotechnology foods. The European Union, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, and New Zealand either have or are in the process of establishing mandatory labeling of these foods. Additionally, the European Union maintains what serves as a ban on new approvals of biotechnology. Even David Byrne, the European Union Commissioner for Health and Safety, warned European governments to ''end their foot-dragging over approval of new genetically modified crops.''
We have, however, seen how the European moratorium may have influenced some developing countries to reject much needed U.S. food aid because the shipments contained corn produced with biotechnology. These corn products are the same products that Americans have been consuming for years. The situation in Zambia should be of concern to all of us, since it appears that some developing countries have adopted the European position on biotechnology. The politicizing of agricultural biotechnology should end so that we can return to providing food aid to the hungry as soon as possible.
Dr. Norman Borlog, known as the architect of the Green Revolution and a 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner, once said that ''the affluent nations can afford to adopt elitist positions and pay more for the food produced by so called natural methods; the 1 billion chronically poor and hungry people of this world can not. New technology will be their salvation, freeing them from obsolete low yielding and more costly production technology.''
America's farmers and ranchers produce the safest and most bountiful food supply in the world. Their goal is to share this bounty with those who need it most, while at the same time, having access to markets around the world.
At this time it is my pleasure to recognize the ranking democrat on the committee, the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Stenholm.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES W. STENHOLM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. STENHOLM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I commend you for calling this hearing on a very timely issue.
We have repeatedly heard the explanation that the European Union maintains its ban on new approvals of biotech products because European consumers are unwilling to accept biotechnology due to safety concerns. That explanation disappoints me. As the Farm Bureau points out in their testimony this morning, there are no peer reviewed scientific risk assessmentsI repeatthere are no peer reviewed scientific risk assessments that conclude that food products of agricultural biotechnology are inherently less safe than their traditional counterparts.
Bioengineered crops in the United States are rigorously reviewed for environmental and food safety by USDA, EPA, and FDA. Food safety reviews of bioengineered crops focus on the safety of the newly introduced trade, on the safety of the whole food, and consider issues including toxicity, allergenicity, nutritional content, and antibiotic resistance. Our forward looking regulatory system has not only ensured the safety of our food supply; it has allowed the development of technologies that have improved our food supply and lowered the cost of food production. Besides lowering cost, biotechnology has the potential to reduce crop risks and improve food security in developing countries. Examples include USA products in Africa to improve production of peas and bananas.
Regulations based on protectionism, instead of science, have a chilling effect on research and the adoption of biotechnology. When there is uncertainty that a product of biotechnology will be accepted, farmers are reluctant to adopt the product despite its proven safety and benefits.
I believe that the United States and the European Union have a responsibility, as developed nations, to lead by example in developing regulatory systems that not only promote safe food, but also promote a better and more secure food supply. And I am disappointed that Europe has so far been unable to construct a science-based regulatory system for food that encouraged development of new technologies that can benefit developed and developing countries around the world.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Stenholm.
Any other statements from Members will be accepted for the record.
[The prepared statements follow:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. NICK SMITH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
I want to thank Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Minority Member Stenholm for holding this hearing to review artificial barriers to U.S. agricultural trade and foreign food assistance. Unfortunately, an increasingly contentious debate between the United States and Europe over biotechnology is now distorting trade worldwide. Hopefully, this hearing will provide a forum in which we can discuss ways to ensure that decisions on the worldwide trade and regulation of GM crops are science-based as opposed to politically-motivated.
Advances in the genetic engineering of crops have allowed us to harnesses the forces of nature in a more precise, and ultimately safer way than ever before. Traditional crop varieties are the product of selective and experimental cross-breeding, where scientists have sought to enhance desirable characteristicssuch as pest resistance, greater tolerance to heat or cold, or increased yield. This process combines 20,000 to 30,000 genes from each parent, can take a great deal of time, and often causes other less desirable changes. Genetic engineering allows us to incorporate specific genes with known characteristics to achieve the desired results with more precision, and fewer unintended effects. As a result, bioengineered crops and pharmaceuticals have great potential, especially in developing nations. Biotechnology can produce crops that will grow readily in places where it is difficult or impossible to plant now. For developing nations biotechnology can also improve nutrition and health by adding vitamins and immunizing agents to food.
The U.S. agriculture industry's embracement of scientific advancements in GM crop development has further contributed to the United States producing the safest and most bountiful food supply in the world. Unfortunately, the European Union and other nations have been opposed to GM crops based on misleading, scientifically-unjustified food safety and environmental risk concerns. Because GM crops face far more strenuous regulation and review from the FDA, USDA, and EPA than new cross-bred varieties, they most likely are safer for consumers. Furthermore, many GM varieties also generate environmental benefits by reducing the need for herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers that can become contaminants. A second reason that Europeans oppose GM crops is that they fear that our lead in biotechnology will reduce production costs and allow American farmers to sell high quality food cheaper than our competitors.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The conflict is now escalating to other parts of the world. Actions taken by the Europeans have pressured African and South American countries not to plant GM crops, telling them that their export products will not be accepted. As a result, Zambia has even rejected emergency relief for its starving population because some food grain could be planted and endanger future exports. Aside from the immediate need for food, this is especially unfortunate because GM crops show some of their greatest potential in Africa and developing nations around the world.
As chairman of the Subcommittee on Science Research on the House Science committee, I will be holding a hearing to specifically review the potential of GM crops to assist developing nations to move toward greater self-sufficiency and how the Government can help. It is imperative that we examine why African nations to date have largely not benefitted from biotechnology and how to best encourage such nations to make regulatory, trade, research, and even planting decisions based on sound science and not on politics.
Science has been enormously important in keeping the world fed. People are better fed today than ever before in human history despite enormous population growth. The Green Revolution of the 1960's and 1970's brought highly productive hybrids into use all over the world, averting famines and increasing living standards. Biotechnology now builds on the Green Revolution to ensure that the world's food supply continues to grow as fast as population.
Bioengineering opponents emphasize the very small and well regulated risks of GM crops while ignoring the immediate risk of starvation and malnutrition in many parts of the world. That attitude is tolerable in developed counties, but it is a betrayal of that majority of the world that struggles to feed itself through periods of war, natural disaster, and economic crisis. Utilizing regulations for GM crops as artificial barriers to agricultural trade and foreign food assistance is detrimental to everyone involved from the American farmer to the starving, undeveloped nations most in need of the promise that GM crops hold for short-term food assistance and long-term agricultural development.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK D. LUCAS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA
Thank you Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing and for providing me with the opportunity to comment on its importance to Oklahoma and its agricultural producers.
In my area of Oklahoma, wheat and cattle production is the driving economic force. Few industries can claim to be as important to Oklahoma as agriculture. Today, we are going to hear numerous witnesses explain how countries may be hiding behind false assumptions and little to no scientific evidence in order to keep U.S. products of biotechnology from being imported into their countries.
Why should this concern me? It concerns me because nearly 50 percent of the wheat in the United States is bound for export markets! It is important to note that while no U.S. wheat is currently produced using modern biotechnology methods, there is already one approved product and no doubt will be many more that will help U.S. producers enhance productivity and profitability.
U.S. institutions such as USDA and FDA have proven time and again that the approved U.S. products of biotechnology have met and exceeded scientifically sound safety standards. It is imperative that the United States help foreign governments develop sound institutions of food and agriculture safety so that those countries' consumers can strongly believe that government approved food products are safewhether grown by traditional or modern methods of biotechnology.
My subcommittee plans to hold hearings to explain how the USDA, FDA, and EPA have worked together to provide sound testing and safety measures. We will also have hearings to explain the benefits to producers and consumers alike.
We can not afford to have U.S. markets closed by false assumptions and must work hard to show that U.S. remains a leader in agricultural production with safest food supply in the world.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I look forward to today's testimony.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK BALLANCE, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
Thank you Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Stenholm for your diligent efforts on this committee.
Mr. Chairman, for hundreds of years, the American farmer has provided for the American People, and in recent years, has provided for the entire world. American produced food helps reduce our worsening balance of trade and feeds hungry people throughout the developing world.
The issue of the exportation of genetically modified
foods continues to be of concern to North Carolinians, in
particular to producers of corn. I am troubled by the increasing number of barriers to exporting to other nations that are forcing our farmers to struggle even more. By improving the options available to exporters of our produce, we will be helping both our rural and urban communities.
I am also concerned that America may not be doing enough to educate foreign countries about genetically modified foods. Many poor nations lack infrastructure to determine if food is safe. With images on television of epidemics like Mad Cow Disease, African leaders are very hesitant to go on the findings of the food safety inspection and research services of another nation. With many countries in Africa dealing with HIV/AIDS, their leaders are hesitant to introduce an item into the food supply that they suspect could further complicate health problems.
Without adequate information, it is no wonder why countries have come to different conclusions about the food products they allow into their country. However, with adequate resources and information, these concerns may be alleviated and the good work done by world aid programs will continue unimpeded.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I thank the committee for drawing attention to this important issue, and look forward to working with you and the ranking member on this critical matter.
The CHAIRMAN. It is now my distinct privilege to invite Speaker Dennis Hastert to the witness table. Speaker Hastert has been a leader on biotechnology issues and represents a State, Illinois, that has benefited greatly from this technology, but is also concerned about some of the developments that have occurred around the world. Speaker Hastert, we are honored to have you with us today and we would be delighted to receive your testimony.
STATEMENT OF HON. J. DENNIS HASTERT, SPEAKER, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
The SPEAKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is an honor to be here, and I have a prepared statement that I think in respect for your time, I will submit that to the record. I just want to make a brief comment on this and then open it up for some questions.
First of all, I want to recognize Leon Corzine, who is a former Illinois Corn Growers president. He is here today to testify and I appreciate his effort. And I also want to just be very honest, that my district in Illinois has some of the top producing counties in the Nation, for corn production and soybean production. So I have an interest in what happens here, but I think we all have an economic interest that we can take our products and not only develop those products so they are real quality products, but able to sell those products overseas.
Forty percent of the crop product in my district in Illinois is exported overseas. Right now, we are seeing that protectionism has a new guise. As we speak, the WTO is discussing a framework of negotiations in the Doha round of trade talks with the objective or reducing worldwide tariffs on agricultural products. As you know, world agricultural tariffs average about 62 percent. Well, here in the United States, agricultural tariffs average about 12 percent. We have the best technology, we have the best ability to produce, and we have the best product to put on a world market. The problem is that we are being artificially stopped from being able to move our products overseas.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And let me go back. I used to sit on the Commerce Committee. I never had the great honor of sitting on the Agriculture Committee, but I was on the Commerce Committee, and every year we would come up with food standards. And folks were coming in and say, well we have to adhere to the Delaney clause, so we have to use less insecticides or pesticides. We have to also make sure that we don't put too many herbicides on the soil because it leeches out and causes problems to our environment. And then folks would come in and say, you can't use too many fertilizers, because they leech out and they cause environmental problems. So over the years, what we have tried to do is to use less herbicides, less pesticides, and less fertilizer, and grow a better product.
On my little farm in Illinois, we used as many environmentally friendly methods as possible. We do no-till and all the other things that you have to do. But what we are faced with as we do a better job in meeting the needs of the environment, and meeting the needs of consumers, and making sure that our food product is pure, we face continual resistance in selling our food products overseas because we are technologically superior. The whole idea of GMO didn't happen yesterday. I happen to have a company called Dekalb Seed in my area. I grew up and my dad was a farm service dealer. I spent a lot of time in the back of a feed truck unloading feed bags and seed bags. And even back then we were making a better soybean product and corn product, as we were doing hybrids. Well, we have taken that to a level that we can produce a product that is superior.
I happened to be in South Africa a couple of years ago and went out to a testing station where they had a product thatan American company was there and had a product that had been GMO modified. It stood about 4 feet taller than the native corn. It was free of rootworm, and corn bore, and different types of insects that would feed upon that product. It was a good, pure, clean product, and people that grow 5, or 6, or 7 acres of corn, they would actually get a product that they could feed their families and put on the market. They could sell the excess; where the other folks, they could barely make a living.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, we have a problem in my view with the European Union. The European Union has, in my opinion, set up artificial barriers that it is almost impossible for us to compete with our products overseas. As a matter of fact, they have had a situation where we haven't been able to get our seeds overseas into the European market; not because the farmers don't want it. It is not because European farmers don't want me to be more competitive, but the bureaucracy that makes up the EU and has its ties in the World Trade Organization has been able to stop us from doing it.
And I have to relate just a very short story. I was with about two members of your committee, and we were in Europe, and it was before Christmas. We were in Poland, Portugal, and Italy, and we had the chance to encounter the agriculture minister of Italy, who has been an advocate of holding GMO products out of the EU. And as a long discussion that I think probably stretched over about 3 hours, after we debated with him, there wasn't any real science that he could hold it out, there wasn't any real health problems that they could hold out GMO products, that there wasn't any other economic problems that they had a good reason to hold out GMO products; but basically, that they wanted to protect their markets. They didn't have a more productive product, and partly, I think, you have agricultural economists that can get into it deeper than I can, but basically, what their problem is, they didn't want their farmers to be more productive because then they had to subsidize them more and it became money out of their pockets.
Also, it really came down to the argument, and the gentleman said we just need to stick with our traditional methods, and people, our consumers, ought to have everything labeled, that they understand what this product is about and what goes into it, so that we can put it on the shelves and say this product has been genetically modified. Well, there are a lot of things that we could probably label, too, and I won't get into that. But what we need to do is make our product more competitive.
I have asked, along with other members of this committee and other members of our Congress, to ask our trade ambassador to go to World Trade and actually file suit that we can get our GMO products into those markets. That will take some time, but this is an issue that is longstanding, an issue that is important for our agricultural viability, important for our ability to be competitive in the long term, and be viable to sell our products.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In U.S. dollars, the ability for the EU to hold out U.S. corn products costs us about $300 billion a year, and you can go on and on. So it does affect our ability to trade, it does affect our economic well being, and it does affect the ability to keep family farms together.
So I thank you. I thank you for taking the time and looking at this issue. There will be much more expert testimony than mine on this issue. I would like to submit my written testimony for the record, and Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to take any questions.
[The prepared statement of Speaker Hastert follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. J. DENNIS HASTERT, SPEAKER, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thank you Mr. Chairman for the opportunity to appear before the committee today to comment on the artificial barriers to U.S. agriculture trade. I appreciate your committee's leadership on this important issue, and thank you for holding this hearing.
Mr. Chairman, protectionism has a new guise. As we speak, the WTO is discussing a framework for negotiations in the Doha round of trade talks with the objective of reducing worldwide tariffs on agriculture products. As you know, world agricultural tariffs today average about 62 percent, while U.S. agricultural tariffs average 12 percent.
While these negotiations represent an important step towards the free exchange of farm goods, there is a more imminent threat to the cause of free tradethe use of non-tariff barriers.
Over the last few years, we have seen country after country implementing protectionist trade policies under the cloak of food safetyeach one brought on by emotion, culture, or their own poor history with food safety regulation.
We have seen policies such as those imposed by the European Union and other countries on agricultural biotechnology; the use of geographical indications to protect agricultural goods; and the taxation of goods that include agricultural products, such as the tax on soft drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup in Mexico.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Simply put, non-tariff protectionism is detrimental to the free movement of goods and services across borders. We all know that free trade benefits all countries. However, free trade will be rendered meaningless if it is short-circuited by non-tariff barriers that are based on fear and conjecturenot science.
One particular issue I would like to focus on today is the use of non-tariff barriers to limit the trade and use of genetically-modified products.
As the Representative of the 14th district in Illinois, my district currently covers portions of eight counties, including four of the top 25 corn-producing counties, and three of the top 50 soybean-producing counties in the Nation. The State of Illinois is the second-largest producing State of both corn and soybeans in the country. Forty percent of this production currently goes to exports, valued at approximately $2.7 billion per year.
U.S. agriculture ranks among the top U.S industries in export sales. In fact, the industry generated a $12 billion trade surplus in 2001, helping mitigate the growing merchandise trade deficit. It is important to realize that 34 percent of all corn acres and 75 percent of all soybean acres are genetically modified.
And what exactly are we talking about when we say ''genetically modified?'' The EU and other countries would have you believe this is a new and special type of food, questionable for human consumption. In fact, since the dawn of time, farmers have been modifying plants to improve yields and create new varieties resistant to pests and diseases. Why would we want to snuff out human ingenuity that benefits farmers and consumers alike?
Such advancements have been achieved by taking plants with desirable traits and crossbreeding them. In fact, almost all of today's commercial crops are now distant cousins from the plants that first appeared in this country. Biotechnology is merely the next stage of development in this age-old process.
As this committee is well aware, the European Union has had an indefensible moratorium on genetically-modified products in place for over four years with no end in sight. This is a non-tariff barrier based simply on prejudice and misinformation, not sound science. In fact, their own scientists agree that genetically modified foods are safe.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We should all be concerned that this irrational policy is spreading. China, for example, has developed new rules for the approval and labeling of biotech products. An overwhelming portion of the entire $1 billion U.S. soybean export crop is genetically modified. Although implementation has been delayed, such a labeling program would certainly result in higher food costs for consumers and higher production costs for farmers.
And what exactly are we labeling? There is general consensus among the scientific community that genetically modified food is no different from conventional food. What's different is not the content of the food, but the process by which it is made. Labeling genetically modified products would only mislead consumers and create an atmosphere of fear.
It's important for the public to know that the U.S. government has safely regulated biotechnology since its inception over 30 years ago. And with the rapid evolution of plant biotechnology in the early 1980s, additional regulation was added. Ask any American farmer about Government regulation and not one will tell you that they are under-regulated.
Biotechnology products are screened by at least one, and often by as many as three, federal agencies. From conception to commercial introduction, it can take up to 10 years to bring a biotech variety to market. Throughout the process, the public has ample opportunity for participation and comment, and data on which regulatory decisions are based are readily available.
Still, regardless of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, bans on genetically modified products continue to persist and multiply. The worldwide impact has been staggering.
The current EU moratorium on genetically-modified products has translated into an annual loss of over $300 million in corn exports for U.S. farmers. More disturbing is the recent trend in Africa, where several nations have rejected U.S. food aid because the shipments contained biotech corn. This based solely on the fear that EU countries will not accept their food exports if genetically modified seeds spread to domestic crops.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC These actions by our trading partners have consequences. U.S. farmers are already beginning to plant more non-biotech seeds. This trend will increase farmers' cost of production as well as increase the damage from harmful insects. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently approved a corn technology that will allow the commercialization of the first corn designed to control rootworma pest that costs U.S. farmers approximately $1 billion in lost revenue per year. It is absurd to think that farmers would not be able to take advantage of this technology.
Clearly, the long-term impact of these policies could be disastrous for U.S. farmers in terms of competitiveness and the ability to provide food for the world's population. Addressing world hunger is particularly critical when approximately 800 million people are malnourished in the developing world, and another 100 million go hungry each day. Biotechnology is the answer to this pressing problem. Farmers can produce better yields through drought-tolerant varieties, which are rich in nutrients and more resistant to insects and weeds, while those in need reap the benefits.
As Hassan Adamu, Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development for Nigeria, stated in a September 2000 Washington Post Op-ed:
''Agricultural biotechnology . . . holds great promise for Africa and other areas of the world where circumstances such as poverty and poor growing conditions make farming difficult. Fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, machinery, fuel and other tools that richer nations take for granted as part of their farming regimen are luxuries in poorer countries. These circumstances demand unique agricultural solutions, and many have been made available through the advances in agricultural biotechnology.''
As you can see, halting or even slowing down the development of this technology could have dire consequences for countries where populations are growing rapidly and all arable land is already under cultivation.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is my opinion that official WTO action is the only course that would send a clear and convincing message to the world that prohibitive policies on biotechnology which are not based on sound science are illegal. In fact, I would like to thank the members of this Committee who recently joined me in sending a letter to the President in support of WTO actionthese are policies which simply must not be allowed to persist.
The EU should immediately lift its unfair moratorium and evaluate biotechnology products using a scientifically-based process with definitive timeframes for approval. It should also keep U.S. exporters informed about developments in the approval process. And if these procedures require additional time, information, or reviews by different committees, they should be justified, officially adopted and communicated to the affected industry. Only then will we have an international process which can benefit both consumers and producers worldwide.
I greatly appreciate the chance to offer my thoughts on this important issue. It is my opinion that the U.S. Government should immediately take a case to the WTO regarding the current EU moratorium. After all, the price of inaction is one we can no longer afford to pay. With that said, I look forward to continue working with my colleagues, the administration and the committee to eliminate all barriers to free trade.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Without objection, I would also ask that the letter you referred to that I also signed, as well as a number of other members of the House signed, to the President be made a part of the record as well. I want to thank you for your excellent presentation that I think is right on and is very, very helpful to this effort.
I have asked some of the committee staff whom you know and who go back a long way with this committee, and we cannot recall the last time that a Speaker of the House has testified before the House Agriculture Committee. So not only are we honored to have you with us, but also, we think it signifies the importance of the issue; certainly, the importance that you place on it, and we share that concern.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I wanted to follow up on your comments about the possibility of bringing a challenge to the European Union moratorium with the World Trade Organization, and I wondered what your view is about the argument that a WTO challenge would be counter-productive, might harden European opposition to biotechnology produced foods and not result in increased market access for biotechnology produced products.
The SPEAKER. Well, my view, I guess I am just kind of an old hard-nose on this, that if you back away, you let them have their way, they will have their way. And it might be GMO today, it might be another issue tomorrow, but if they think they can back you down with red herring reasons as they drag it across the path, there will be no end to our ability not to be able to forthrightly trade and move our products overseas. I think you need to challenge them. I think you need to go nose and nose, because only when they are confronted with facts and truth and legal reality do they begin to back down. I think we need to go full force. That is my opinion.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, thank you. I certainly agree with that. And it is, I think, a problem not just in Europe, but it is now beginning to have repercussions elsewhere in the world. That is really one of the subjects of this hearing, related to famine in Africa, which we will get into more detail later. I think we also need to stress the point that we are not trying to get anybody to eat something they don't want to eat. We want to make sure we are treated fairly to have the opportunity to introduce our products into Europe, sell them, let people make a decisions for themselves, and at the same time, we want to be able to sell non-GM products there as well. Some of the considerations the Europeans are pursuing regarding labeling of these products are making it hard to even do that.
The SPEAKER. Well, Mr. Chairman, you are right. I think consumers need to have those choices and that is what our economy is based on, and hopefully, that is what a free market economy in Europe is based on. We have seen different indications and pressuring of countries, and that is one of the problems we see developing in the EU, that all of a sudden, if you are part of the EU, you can only buy EU, you can't buy outside of the country. But the fact of going back to genetically modified corn or soybeans, we have been eating these products for 30 years, and they are a better product. They are a superior product and people are using reasons that aren't justified to stop these products coming into their borders.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Absolutely right. It is now my pleasure to recognize the ranking member from Texas, Mr. Stenholm, for any questions he might have.
Mr. STENHOLM. No questions. I just appreciate, Mr. Speaker, you coming. I appreciate your interest in the issue.
The SPEAKER. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that you need to move on to attend other business, and we want to again thank you greatly for your participation today.
The SPEAKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the committee. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. The next panel is going to comprise Congressman Frank Wolf and Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, and my understanding is that neither of them are here yet. In the interest of time I think we should proceed to the next panel and we will give Congressman Wolf or Congresswoman Emerson an opportunity when they do arrive.
At this time, we would like to welcome our third panel to the table: Dr. John Kilama, president of Global Bioscience Development Institute, and Dr. Calestous Juma, director of the Program of Science Technology and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Gentlemen, we welcome both of you. I hope I didn't do too much injustice to your names. I hope I pronounced them correctly. If I didn't, I hope you will correct me. And Dr. Kilama, we would be pleased to begin with you.
STATEMENT OF JOHN KILAMA, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL BIOSCIENCE DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE, WILMINGTON, DE
Mr. KILAMA. Thank you, Chairman Goodlatte, and Ranking Member Stenholm, and other members of the committee. Actually, you did wonderful. You got my name right on the money. Since this is my first time to be in front of you here, I would like to take a minute to get to know me. I am Dr. John Kilama. I was born in Uganda and now a citizen of the United States. After my education, which included a chemistry degree from Berea College, Berea, KY, and a pharmacy degree from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Arizona, I spent 10 years at DuPont Agricultural Division developing new crop protection products.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am now the head of Global Bioscience Development Institute located in Wilmington, Delaware. Our goal at the Institute is to support leaders of developing nations overcome apprehension so that they can acquire a sense of ownership regarding biotechnology. Over the past 2 years, we conducted five African regional training courses on biotechnology and intellectual property, 39 Sub-Saharan African countries and five or more leaders did this training. Many of the participants came from public and private sectors. My comments today draw from the experiences of designing and organizing these courses.
I am very happy to be here, Mr. Chairman, excited about this hearing that you are having, and I want to applaud your efforts today as to determine the extent and impact of artificial barriers to trade and food aid in agricultural products produced through biotechnology. My testimony today will focus mostly on Africa, although I will, if time permits, say a few words about China and India, two countries obviously of great importance for trade matters. I ask at this moment that my full testimony be submitted for the record.
There is widespread apprehension of biotechnology in Africa and other developing countries. No new story dramatizes the challenges confronting the biotechnology sector more dramatically than the refusal by Zambia and other southern African countries to accept American food aid processed from genetically modified crops last October. I believe there are four major reasons, in my opinion, so many Africans are having difficulties in adopting biotechnology. Those reasons are some of those already been alluded to by you and others.
First, the Africans have close ties to Europe's economic market. Africa's close economic ties with Europe are making it very difficult for the African government to embrace biotechnology. Africans are very worried that European will retaliate against African exports if Africa accepts GMO's. For example, from 1999 to the year 2000, Zambia exported more than 8,400 tons of produce to Europe, earning about $62.6 million. Let me quote to you what the vice president of Zambia, Mr. Enoch Kavindele, said to some of the UN workers. ''Our decision to reject some of these foods is out of fear. We have been told that we lose our European market if we start growing GM foods. Hungry we may be, but GM foods pose a serious threat to our agriculture sector and could grind it to a halt.'' Mr. Chairman, this is what Africans are facing with regard to trade and biotechnology.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second reason, which I feel if very important, is Africa's inability to create biosafety laws affected by technology policy that is creating limited private sector development in Africa. Even if the European issue wasn't there, Africa would still be having problems adopting biotechnology because of the inability of African governments to develop a coherent strategic policy for enacting and implementing biosafety laws. To date, and somebody can correct me, I am not aware of any single country in Sub-Saharan Africa that has enacted any laws for enforcing biosafety regulations. And that means the lack of regulatory, means that companies that want to import and sell GM seed will not be able to do it. Applications to field test transgenic materials developed locally or from international sources are not possible. Approval for importation of GMO's as commodities or for research and testing purposes are delayed. There is no mechanism to process requests for authorization to produce or to grow GMO's on a large scale for commercial purposes. In some cases, even the movement of GMO's within these countries is very much restricted.
So why aren't African governments acting decisively to create biosafety laws? This brings me to the third reason, which is the capacity crisis within the African government institutions. In my discussions with many African leaders, I have determined that the lack of appropriate human capacity is a major obstacle. Most officials and the ministries responsible for enacting biosafety laws lack the policymaking skills required for drafting coherent, consistent and effective legislation, and pushing those drafts through the legislative process. To me, this is the crisis that has resulted from reduction of development assistance provided toward nurturing the growth of leadership in African government ministries.
Lately, many of the donors have shifted their approach to working directly with local communities rather than work with key government ministries. I have no quarrel with anyone that is working directly with local communities, but I feel strongly that this approach should not come at the expense of neglecting government institutions. In addition, this assistance is normally not clearly coordinated to target specific needs of the countries that receive it. The result has been a significant shortage of people in government who have the skills to develop strategy and policy in areas like biotechnology.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, foreign assistance to Africa should be carefully thought out so that it focuses on producing long-term benefits, not short-term emotional satisfaction. The first leaders must be supported from the public and private sectors, from local communities to key national ministries that include ministries like Health, Agriculture, Environment, Trade, Justice, Science and Technology. Otherwise, we risk an incomplete consensus and resentment among at least some stakeholders.
I also strongly believe that these countries must be required to put on the table a certain percentage of the project. They should also be brought in full partnership from the onset of any developmental assistance. No matter how corrupt and mismanaged African government ministries may be, we must figure out a way to train government officials in the key leadership skills of policymaking and implementation.
I would like to draw your attention to the current Secretary General of United Nations, Kofi Annan. He was one of those groups of people in the 1960's that were trained by support from international groups that wanted to provide a lot of key people that would gain experience in policy decisions.
I would also like to draw your attention a little bit of to Botswana, the southern African nation that now has the highest per capita foreign exchange reserves in the world. The secret of Botswana's economic growth isn't the country's great mineral wealth. After all, many African countries have enormous mineral wealth. The key to Botswana's success is that Botswana has successfully nurtured the policymaking and implementation skills of a broad range of leaders in both the public and the private sector. So it might be wise for some of this assistance to provide opportunities for some of the Africans to actually go to Botswana and see the kind of things that the government are doing in terms of providing leadership within the country.
And the last reason has to do with this unprecedented barrage of negative publicity about biotechnology by extremist groups. These groups have labeled GMOs and the products made from them as seeds of inequity and ruin. Because of inadequate counterbalance to these extreme groups, it is not surprising that some African governments are swayed by these crazy rumors.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And so let me just conclude by talking a little bit about China and India. Of the last 6 months, I spent more than 3 weeks in China, first on a trade mission with the city of Philadelphia, and second, on invitation from Anhui Province. It happened to be the province from where the current Premier of China comes from. And I really have come to a conclusion that China has embraced biotechnology. Unfortunately, in the last few weeks or so, we have seen that the central government is dragging their feet in terms of allowing trade to occur, and this might simply be because China feels very strongly that they need to upgrade their biotech companies to be able to compete with international product.
On the other hand, in India, my visit to Karnataka State in Bangalore has indicated to me that there is a tremendous interest in biotechnology as witnessed by approval of Bt cotton, which is now in use in India. And there is an enormous amount of biotech activity in the state and other states in India, which indicates that they have recognized the importance of biotechnology for their economic development.
So in summary, if you may permit me, first, I feel strongly that biotech can have a bright future in Africa. How bright will depend on how effectively leadership in Africa acquires the skills it needs to create effective, coherent policy and build support for it among all stakeholders.
I also feel that it is very important that we recognize some of the success that has taken place with support from USAID. A kind of example I would like to emphasize, USAID together with Monsanto provided support to Kenya Agriculture Research Institute and AGERI in Egypt. And the result has been that these institutions have provided a foundation upon which the country can draw a lot of expertise, and these are the kinds of experiences that I would like to bring up to your table. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Kilama appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. Let me remind all of the witnesses that their entire statements will be made a part of the record and that they will be very helpful to us if they would limit their comments to 5 minutes. And at this time, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Juma.
STATEMENT OF CALESTOUS JUMA, DIRECTOR, PROGRAM FOR SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION, JOHN F. KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, CAMBRIDGE, MA
Mr. JUMA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to be here, and I promise you that I will keep within the time limit.
I am currently professor of the Practice of International Development at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Before going to Harvard, I was the executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity under which the Biosafety Protocol that regulates trade in genetically modified products was negotiated. And so a part of my testimony this morning derives from my experiences as executive secretary of the Convention, but also, more recently, as well as from my own research in terms of being able to look back and see what the negotiations implied both for international trade and also for the developing countries.
I have come to the conclusion after looking back and conducting research over the last 4 years, that the regulatory uncertainty that prevails in the international arena at the moment has significant implications for the developing countries at least in three areas: First, in the area of the ability of the developing countries to meet their basic needs; second, their capacity to participate in the global economy through the improvement of the agricultural products; and third, through possible disruptions in international partnerships arising from objections to the use of genetically modified products.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is particularly interesting because since a decade ago most of these countries have, in fact, signed onto a large number of international commitments where they recognize the importance of biotechnology. And many of them, in fact, put in place policies and programs that were aimed at developing their own capacity to participate in the biotechnology field. What subsequently changed was a shift in the legislative authority on biotechnology away from ministries of agriculture to ministries of environment. As a result, much of the negotiation that has taken place over the regulation of agriculture products has been led by institutions that are not responsible for agriculture production. And this, generally, has had a negative impact on the ability of those with the locus standi to, pronounce on agricultural issues. They have become marginal to many of the major international negotiations. And so the regulatory atmosphere to a large extent has been hostile to the development of new technologies.
I have, during my own research, documented at least three areas of impact on the developing countries arising from this uncertainty in the regulatory system globally. One is the impact on domestic research in the developing countries themselves, and this is arising from the fact that these countries are very concerned about investing resources in biotechnology without knowing whether they will have access to international markets. Second, they are concerned about about the ability of the international community to rally resources to support biotechnology in such developing countries; especially, where there are major differences between the United States and Europe. And third, an issue that has been raised already, which relates to a capacity of these countries to participate in trade, particularly, using genetically modified products.
A related question that is linked to the impact on humanitarian activities which my colleague has already referred to.
I would like to conclude by proposing at least three areas that I believe require urgent attention. The first is being able to establish a certain degree of certainty in the global regulatory arena, whether it is done through adjustments in existing practices, regulatory practices, or through arbitration, whichever the case might be, but I think it is essential to stabilize and bring a certain degree of predictability in the international arena. Second, I believe there is an urgent need for the developing countries to enter into long-term biotechnology research partnerships industrialized countries. A large part of the objection to biotech is arising from the fact that many of the African countries are not yet stakeholders in the technology itself. And finally, I think it is essential to strengthen the science and technology policy capability of the developing countries so that decisions on biotechnology are taken in the context of science and technology and not in the context of other institutions, especially, in this respect to environmental institutions.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to appear before you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Juma appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Juma, thank you, and Dr. Kilama, thank you for your very helpful comments, both of you. We will come back for some questions in a moment, but first, we have been joined at the witness table by Congressman Frank Wolf. Congressman Wolf has been a leader in the Congress for a long time on humanitarian issues. He is somebody for whom I have great respect and who I know has been to many of these countries has seen the need and who was amongst those who urged us to bring this issue to the floor. So Congressman, we will thank you for that, and thank you for joining us today, and we would be pleased to hear your testimony.
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK WOLF, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
Mr. WOLF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your holding this hearing, and I had the opportunity at the request of our former colleague, Bill Emerson, who has since passed away, and Congressman Tony Hall, who is now at the United Nations, to get active in this issue. We all went to Africa in 1984 in the famine, and I had the opportunity to visit Ethiopia and Eritrea again in January of this year.
There are over 30 million Africans whose lives are in peril as they struggle for their next meal. We saw women and children that were too weak to feed themselves, and it is absolutely tragic that in a world with food as plentiful as ours, that we are now going through famine of what I would call biblical proportions.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to take a few minutes and show you why I am here today. The barriers our agricultural products face when providing humanitarian relief is affecting real people, starving people, around the globe. If we could just show 2 1/2 minutes of the tape.? This was in a village not very far from Addis Ababa; 11.5 million people are at risk of dying, 3 million are ready to be added to the list, 1.5 in Eritrea. She was 5 years old. These children couldn't stand up.
Thankfully, Mr. Chairman, those scenes were not of Zambia or India, but it could have just as easily been. Last year, the Zambians turned down the offer of genetically modified maize from the United States, saying the safety of the food had not been proven. It also declined the offer of a milled version free from seeds that farmers could plant. I have submitted for the record an article from the paper there, the National Post, that said Lusaka, about 6,000 hungry Zambian villagers in this village 3,300 kilometers from the capitol, overpowered an armed policeman and looted 230 tons of food aid, mostly corn, rejected by the government because it was genetically modified. Police said yesterday, despite the threat of starvation facing more than 2 million people, Zambia has banned all GM food.
[The article from the January 29, 2003 National Post follows:]
LUSAKAAbout 6,000 Hungry Zambian villagers in Sizanongew, 300 kilometers from the capital, overpowered an armed policeman and looted 230 tonnes of food aid, mostly corn rejected by the government because it was genetically modified, police said yesterday. Despite the threat of starvation facing more than 2 million people, Zambia has banned all GM food.
Mr. WOLF. This is really a trade issue, but more importantly, it is an issue of life and death. There are countless numbers of women and children whose life could be needlessly cut short if this thinking continues.
American agricultural products are among the safest in the world. Even Europe officials admit the EU policy to put pressure on African governments to reject food aid containing genetically modified organisms. This is tragic, because genetically modified crops boost yields and could make Africa less dependent on foreign food aid. Developing countries are hampered in their efforts to use biotechnology and to engineer and improve crops because modified produce is not acceptable to European markets.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In India, for instance, officials have always maintained European style safety concerns about genetically modified food. Last November, authorities demanded a written guarantee that aid shipments from the United States contain no GM grains whatsoever. Relief workers in CARE, which is a great organization, and Catholic Relief Services, could not comply. After 6 months of stalemate, when people were hungry, they had the sacks of flour shipped off to Africa. And in the meantime, India has allowed no new shipments of U.S. corn-soya flour, and that is tragic. Boatloads of flour waiting to be consumed by hungry people in India. Thankfully, hungry people in Africa were able to use it, but what about the women and children in India?
This is a global crisis demanding a global response. No one country can meet the needs in Africa and around the world. In the year 2000, the United States, our Government, our taxpayers, have contributed 51 percent of all the food feeding the hungry people, and that is great, that is appropriate, that is good. That shows the compassion that we are. If you look at the European Commission, Europe's combined contribution is 27 percent of the donations to the UN World Food Program. They have more people in all of Europe, but they have only given 27 percent. We have fewer people and we have given 51 percent. EU countries like France have the ability to contribute more, but instead of responding to this international crisis, the situation is being made worse by the EU's opposition to importing biotech agricultural products. Should these African countries recover their agricultural industry, they would then not be able to sell their products to their main export; that is Europe.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, irrational fears has replaced moral compassion for hungry mouths around the world. People are afraid of foreign genes somehow contaminating their own crops and fields, and they are afraid their farmers might grow dependent on the U.S. companies for GM seeds. I hope and pray that fear will be overcome quickly. And I might say, Congressman Tony Hall, that is one of Tony's main jobs that he is doing is promoting this and answering these unfounded charges that are being made by some. Regular droughts have exacerbated the current famine in Africa and the rest of the world. With more drought resistant crops, many of these countries could become self sufficient rather than merely struggling to survive one year later. I really think this is an issue, obviously, of trade, but more one of life and death. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding the hearing.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statements of Mr. Wolf and Mrs. Emerson follow:]
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK WOLF, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
Mr. Chairman, thank you for allowing me to testify today before this distinguished committee. As many of you know, I have traveled to Africa to witness the devastation of famines, first in 1984 and most recently, earlier this year.
There are 30 million Africans' lives in peril as they struggle for their next meal. I saw women and children that are too weak to feed themselves. This is absolutely tragic in a world with food as plentiful as ours.
I'd like to take just a few minutes and show you why I am here today. The barriers our agricultural products face when providing humanitarian relief is affecting real people, starving people around the globe.
Thankfully, those weren't scenes of Zambia or India, but it could just as easily have been. Last year, Zambians turned down the offer of genetically modified maize from the United States, saying the safety of the food had not been proven. It also declined the offer of a milled version free from seeds that farmers could plant.
This is a life and death issue. There are countless numbers of women and children whose lives could needlessly be cut short if this thinking continues. American agricultural products are among the safest in the worldeven Europe's officials admit that.
EU policies put pressure on African governments to reject food aid containing genetically modified organisms. This is tragic because genetically modified crops boost yields and could make Africa less dependent on foreign food aid. Developing countries are hampered in their efforts to use biotechnology to engineer improved crops because modified produce is not acceptable to European markets. (The major export market for most of these countries).
In India, for instance, officials have always maintained European-style safety concerns about genetically modified foods. Last November, authorities demanded a written guarantee that aid shipments from the United States contained no GM grains whatsoever. Relief workers at CARE and Catholic Relief Services couldn't comply. After 6 months of stalemate, they had the sacks of flour shipped off to Africa. In the meantime, India has allowed no new shipments of U.S. corn-soya flour.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Isn't that tragic? Boatloads of flour waiting to be consumed by hungry people in India. Thankfully, hungry people in Africa were able to use it, but what about the women and children in India?
Irrational fear has replaced moral compassion for hungry mouths around the world. People are afraid of foreign genes somehow contaminating their own crops and fields, and they're afraid their farmers might grow dependent on U.S. companies for GM seeds.
I hope and pray that this fear will be overcome quickly. Since 1984, Africa has suffered regular droughts which have exacerbated the current famine situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea today. With more drought resistant crops, these countries could become self-sufficient rather that merely struggling to survive one year to the next. Don't these nations owe that to their hungry women and children?
STATEMENT OF HON. JO ANN EMERSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MISSOURI
I currently serve as a co-chair of the Congressional Hunger Center. This bipartisan, non-profit organization will reach its 10-year anniversary this year. Its success in educating leaders to fight hunger comes in part from its connection to the former House Select Committee on Hunger. Founded in 1983 by Congressmen Benjamin Gilman, Mickey Leland and Tony Hall, the Select Committee on Hunger was known for its efforts to find real solutions to national hunger and poverty. Congressman Mickey Leland chaired the committee until he lost his life during a humanitarian mission to Ethiopia in 1989. Congressman Leland felt strongly that hunger could be ended and lamented, ''I cannot get used to hunger and desperate poverty in our plentiful land. There is no reason for it, there is no excuse for it, and it is time that we as a nation put an end to it.''
Congressman Tony Hall succeeded Congressman Leland as chairman of the Select Committee on Hunger until the House of Representatives voted to eliminate all of its select committees in 1993. Congressman Hall responded by embarking on a 22-day fast, an act that helped bring Republicans and Democrats together to create the Congressional Hunger Center. In 1994, my late husband, Bill Emerson joined Tony Hall as the first co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Hunger Center.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For over 50 years, the U.S. Government and the American people have provided food assistance to foreign countries. Immediately after World War II, commodities stockpiled for the U.S. military were made available to the people of war torn Europe and Asia through private voluntary organizations. As part of the Agricultural Act of 1949, the Secretary of Agriculture was granted authority to donate or sell surplus U.S. commodities abroad. This was used until the mid1950's and then reactivated in the early 1980's in order to reduce the stockpiles of surplus commodities that the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation had accumulated. Our food aid efforts have expanded in recent years but we have the capacity to do so much more. I hope that in my involvement with the Congressional Hunger Center, I am able to follow in the footsteps of my predecessors and eliminate hunger and poverty for our Nation and for the world.
In the world today, there are 800 million hungry, malnourished people who need food now. America's farmers harvest a bounty big enough to feed America, export around the world, and share with the hungry in developing countries. We are very fortunate and empathetic to the plight of those who do not share our good fortune. Americans are in the position to help and we want to share the bounty of our harvests. Our food is safe, nutritious and available now.
Our farmers are among the most productive on Earth, using the best technologies available for conserving resources, protecting the soil, and preserving the environment. They continue to improve year after year with better products and practices. Our food provides one of the safest, most nutritious and most diverse diets ever enjoyed by people anywhere, and we continue to improve on these qualities as well.
The most effective way for us to share our bounty is to share our food directly and not sending our tax dollars to buy food from farmers in some other country. We lead the world in sharing access to our educational system, our technology and know-how, and the skill of our farmers with developing countries so that they can better learn to grow food themselves. The equation is simple: there is safe and nutritious food available now and there are people who are hungry now. There is only one moral solution to this equation. There is ample time and means for each country to make long-term choices about food and technology policy without letting people go hungry or putting them at risk.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our technology has allowed us to make great strides in the realm of biotechnology. Biotech helps American farmers grow more and better food, saves our resources and protects our environment with economic benefits for growers. Biotech can also help African farmers develop a more productive, nutritious and profitable agriculture in Africa - helping reduce hunger, poverty and environmental harm. The governments of several countries in southern Africa have expressed concern about receiving grain, specifically maize, that may include biotech traits in commercial use in the United States, as food aid to help address famine.
Africa is on the verge of catastrophe. The causes are many but the most pressing are the HIV/AIDS epidemic and drought. Six million Ethiopians are in need of food. In southern Africa, U.S. and international experts agree that the worsening food crisis places as many as 14.5 million people at risk. These people do not have food today. Zimbabwe is heading for disaster and the situation in Zambia may be even worse.
African governments' concerns about accepting food aid containing biotech traits arise from their lack of national biosafety assessment and regulatory capacity, as well as concern over potential trade issues with the European Union. In addition, other countries have proposed to impose onerous segregation and labeling requirements on imports of biotech crops and active anti-biotech activism is raising unfounded concerns. To date, the governments of Mozambique, Malawi, Swaziland and Lesotho have agreed to accept biotech grains as long as they are milled, which will prevent them from being planted as crops. The Zambian government has agreed to use the milled grain only to feed the country's refugees but the grain will not be distributed to the general population.
The situation in Zambia best illustrates the problem that we are facing. In Zambia, 3 million people face the possibility of starvation because of drought. Relief maize was being sent to the area. The government discovered that it was partly GM and believed that accepting it had major environmental and perhaps health implications. Lacking the laboratories and protocols, Zambia turned to Europe for guidance and rejected 63,000 tons of our maize. This situation shines light on just how much influence Europe has on the situation.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Some governments are actively blocking the delivery of emergency food relief needed to head off starvation. Their excuses stem from the ongoing debate over biotechnology, spurred in part by the bias against biotechnology of certain European lobby and interest groups. As a result, food that should have been going to these countries is not getting there. Meanwhile, the debate rages inside those countries over the human health and environmental risks posed by the corn that millions of Americans eat daily. It does not take a lot to calculate the impact of these arguments by well fed experts. As the region heads for famine, vulnerable people will perish.
While we respect the rights of countries to make their own decisions about biotech, other donors have not stepped up to fill the gap if US food aid is turned away. The United States provides two-thirds of the food aid needed to meet emergencies around the world. All this food comes from our stocks and markets. It is the same food we eat. All of it has passed our own food safety and environmental impact testingthe most rigorous in the world. For this reason, U.S. biotech and non-biotech foods are mixed together. There is no need to separate them.
I am concerned that Europes' attitudes toward biotech are profoundly shaping the African response. The moratorium in Europe is contributing to fear, confusion and misinformation about the safety and benefits of biotech in agriculture, leading to a profound chilling effect on developing countries who most need the benefits of this and other new technologies. This is reflected in apprehensions about eating the same food we eat here in the United States, and contributes to holding up the application of biotech to serious problems in Africa and other developing regions of the world.
The bottom line is quite simple: the food and grain contained in aid shipments to Africa from the United States contain the same tested and safe foodstuffs grown and consumed daily by 285 million American citizens. Biotech crops and ingredients undergo rigorous safety testing and regulatory assessments. No other food crops in history have been tested and regulated as thoroughly as foods developed through biotechnology. Food aid containing biotech traits meet the safety assessment processes established by the World Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. These safety assessment processes establish substantial equivalence to ensure that biotech foods are at least as safe as food produced from conventionally bred crops.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Food aid is a complement to development and trade malnourished people can't wait for development and underdeveloped economies have little to trade. America is helping on all three levels: food now for the hungry, development assistance for farmers and capacity building, and working towards a level playing field for fair and open trade to benefit all countries.
Effective tools are available to growers who want to cater to specific agricultural markets and regions. Food aid, agricultural development and export markets can co-exist with cooperation and compatible, reasonable standards. The ample evidence of the safety of biotech cropsboth human and environmentalshould reassure countries who have not yet developed full regulatory processes on biotech food that they are not endangering their people by granting temporary allowances of the biotech traits for humanitarians needs. Countries do not need to make a choice between their long term sovereignty and their short term needs.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Congressman Wolf. We are going to proceed with questions now. If you would like to remain, you are welcome to do so.
Mr. WOLF. I am chairing another hearing, and if I could be excused, I would do that.
The CHAIRMAN. Absolutely. We certainly appreciate your contribution today and thank you, again.
Mr. WOLF. I thank the chairman and I thank the members.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Kilama, can you tell us more about your training sessions with African policy leaders in the Global Bioscience Development Institute? I am intrigued that you are able to have participants from so many countries. I understand almost 40, including Zambia, participated, and we would love to know more about the progress you feel you are making in that regard.
Mr. KILAMA. Absolutely, Mr. Chairman. When I left DuPont, one of the things that I recognized was that there is a tremendous gap, especially, in Africa, in terms of really understanding some of the international issues, as well as regional and local issues. In terms of looking at policy as a vehicle for promoting development, we then design a course in which we bring in different groups of people from a specific region, and we kind of tailored it, the regional approach, based on what is already existing. For example, like the SADC, the Southern African Development Community or the ECORS, and bring a diverse group of people to begin to understand the issues that, for example, pertain to the bio-resources that they have an enormous amount of it, and how they can translate that availability of bio-resource into economic development. And also, look at the issues of intellectual property, which is very important, because I believe that ingenuity within each community exists, and one way to promote it is to embrace the protection of that ingenuity, and then look at different technologies that are available which can support a lot of this economic development.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And so we have brought in a diverse group of people consisting of lawyers, consisting of scientists, consisting of managers and policymakers in private sector together in this training. At the same time, we also bring very diverse people from around the world. In fact, in our training, we normally average between 20 different people from 20 different countries, including the United States, Costa Rica, for example, Chile, Japan, India, the EU, to come and bring different experiences in their country into Africa. We don't bring the people into the United States. Instead, we bring these experts from around the world into Africa, therefore, allowing us to draw in a larger group. And the training lasts for 3 weeks consecutively, Monday through Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. We carefully select these people, people who we feel are very committed to their country, and to be able to learn and go back and try to make a change in their institution or their country. And we have been able to do that five times. The first was two in East Africa, one in southern Africa, two in West Africa to accommodate the Anglophone and the Francophone.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Dr. Juma, do you think the European Union's anti-biotech attitude in its regulations on labeling and traceability are spreading around the world? There seems to be no scientific justification for the principles that they have articulated. Are the Biosafety Protocol and the precautionary principle which they have put forward responsible for this attitude?
Mr. JUMA. The answer to your first question is yes. Those ideas are being articulated through a number of international instruments, one of them being the Biosafety Protocol which now has 45 ratifications. It will come into force on the 50th ratification, in which case it becomes international law. That would be, basically, the first major establishment of the precautionary principle in international law, and I think that that is going to happen pretty soon. It is going to be a major step in terms of consolidating the position of the European Union in terms of being able to argue that their principles regarding regulation of safety of food are being accepted worldwide, so I think that is an important development.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My own personal position has always been that it would have been better for the United States to have been a party to the Conventional on Biological Diversity under which the Biosafety Protocol was negotiated. The United States would have used the opportunity of being a party to argue its case strongly. Second, the same ideas are being, in fact, proposed in other international regulations. For example, attempts to introduce the same principles in the Codex Alimentarius.
So the answer to your question is yes, and I think that it is going to not only affect genetically modified foods, but these principles, when they become international law, will be extended to other areas which do not include genetically modified foods.
The CHAIRMAN. It is very concerning to me. What are the consequences in terms of feeding people in Africa and other parts of the world if that next step were to occur?
Mr. JUMA. My personal opinion on this is that we are basically at the point of divergence, that we have really two systems. And the African countries, in particular, will not make choices in favor of biotech unless they see that they have, in fact, a stake in it. So my argument is that the United States needs to be active in forging biotechnology partnerships with the African countries. And as soon as they become stakeholders in the technology, they can take a stand. Right now, they cannot take a stand because they are not stakeholders in the technology. They are being asked to accept products of biotechnology. My argument is that they should be part of the acceptance of the product, but also the development of the technology itself.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Stenholm.
Mr. STENHOLM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank both of you for your very excellent testimony today. The word ''moral'' is used and abused quite often. But when you think in terms of what Congressman Wolf spoke about a moment ago with 800 million people in the world needing more food every day, I think it is amoral for the developing countries to deny those people the opportunity to feed themselves. Only technology can bring them that opportunity.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I appreciate your emphasis on the need for education of the leaders; and specifically, I am talking about Africa, but you can say the same of developing countries all over the world, in which the leaders are the problem many times because of the lack of an overt action on the part of developing countries like the United States who have the technology and are perfectly willing to share it, the technology and the information necessary so that leaders can make rational decisions on their own.
I found it very disturbing, Dr. Kilama, in your testimony, that you say one of the reasons why Africa refuses to accept our biologically improved GMO modified foods is fear of retaliation from the European countries. Did I understand and read that correctly?
Mr. KILAMA. Yes. And let me give you one example. Botswana is a major exporter of beef to Europe, and when I was there, I had a chance to talk with President Mogae of Botswana, and one of the things he expressed was that, look, we can't commit suicide here, because if we decide to bring in biotechnology into Botswana, the first casualty would be our export of beef would simply not be there. And this is the reality. And I think the fact that Europe is a bigger chunk of market for Africa, the issue of biotechnology, in my opinion, has to go through Europe. And no matter how much we try to do, I don't think the leaders in Africa are going to embrace it until the Europeans embrace it, because the fact of the matter is, that is their bread and butter in terms of income. And one alternative, of course, would be to see that the market is opened up in the United States for the African produce, and that may be another way to undercut this stranglehold on the Africans by the Europeans.
Mr. STENHOLM. We have many tools available to work on this education you are talking about, but we also have the WTO process, and right now we have a codex task force on biotechnology which is on the verge of issuing new guidelines on the food safety aspects of biotechnology. Throughout the WTO dispute resolution process, individual countries are expected to look at the codex standards on questions of food safety regulations. What effect do the both of you believe this new codex task force and guidelines will have on this question, if any?
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KILAMA. My short answer to that is that I really do not see, no matter how much regulatory treaties are enacted, until we address the issue of markets, most of this probably will be on paper. I may be wrong. The only major source of income beside minerals in Africa, really, are the agricultural produce. And if they feel that they cannot access this particular market, yes, we can not have the biosafety regulatory in place. In fact, some of them have drafts. Nigeria has a draft; Kenya has a draft which they are working with. Egypt has a draft, but really, to get to the point where there is actual trade in biotechnology in the continent, I don't really see it even if you have the WTO provisions or the Alimentarius. It still is not going to really make a difference in terms of meaningful trade. And so we have to address that particular issue, and to add to that, the fact that there is a tremendous deficiency in terms of understanding the broader picture of biotechnology by the African leadership, it is a major problem.
Mr. JUMA. Codex is the most authoritative international standard on food safety and, therefore, any ideas that get adopted by codex would become, in fact, the international standard. And since WTO uses codex as a basis for decision making, it is important to be sure that codex is, in fact, continues to be a science-based instrument for decision making. My answer to your question is that codex will have an impact on how countries formulate their food safety laws.
Mr. STENHOLM. Thank you very much for your answers.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Stenholm. I am going to recognize the gentleman from South Dakota in a moment, but I want to just make a comment following on what the gentleman from Texas just said and Dr. Kilama's observation about what is going on in Botswana. I recently met with the Spanish agricultural minister. We actually have some friends in the European Union. The irony is the Spanish grow aboutI don't know exactly how many acres, but close to 100,000 acres of GM corn in Spain that they feed to livestock and sell the meat from all over Europe. You might share that with your friends in Africa. There is a precedent already established for not fearing the consequences of this and that there are those in Europe who are afraid that the backsliding that is going on could actually hurt some Europeans.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At this time, I would like to recognize the gentleman from South Dakota.
Mr. JANKLOW. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much. Dr. Kilama and Dr. Juma, both of you, I think you both realize we are not dealing with science, and neither are the Europeans or the folks in Africa. What we are dealing with is politics in the most fundamental sense. People are utilizing science, but more than that, they are utilizing the fear of human beings about the unknown, and we all have certain fears about the unknown. These fears about the unknown are utilized to enhance one's economic and political position. Recognizing that and recognizing that all of the scientific studies in the world aren't going to make any difference to the European position, because there isn't anymore you can do. The greatest example of a test project has been the number of years that the people of this country have been consuming these products, a couple of decades.
Way back in ancient Egypt, when a farmer figured out that you could cross two seeds and come up with a better one, when people cut the limbs off of trees and grafted them on other trees, the hybrid corns that we have had for decades, are all examples of what farmers have been doing as long as they have been farming. Now, recognizing all of that, what do you think we can do in the political sense to turn the corner, because we can waste time forever talking about science, but the reality is how do we bring a political solution to a political problem?
Mr. KILAMA. Congressman, I am really glad you have brought the real issue up front, and I fully agree with you. The science is long gone. I think everybody, if they are leaving this world, knows that GMO is not an unsafe product, and so it is a political issue. And that is why I am trying to emphasize that there is a vacuum in Africa in terms of, really, people who would have the leadership skills and political skills to be able to get their political and their people in the country to understand that, and that is why I keep on emphasizing that any support that would provide to AfricaI don't have any problem with short term. I think humanitarian issues and all those need to be done, but the long term really is to be able to support a lot of these educated people in Africa to be able to understand the political skillsI mean, to have the political skills and leadership skills.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. JANKLOW. But aren't we talking about decades for that kind of
Mr. KILAMA. No, I don't think it is a decade. I think if the process had been going and not interrupted from the 1960's, we would probably not be facing these kind of problems. When Africa was getting independent, there was a concerted effort by many countries, rich countries that is, to support leadership development, and we know some of the people are learning the fruits of that kind of process. But we kind of have moved away from it. Many donors have really moved away from looking at key issues within the government as an impediment to a lot of the problems that we are facing today. And I think we need to begin to redirect our attention to that vacuum which is
Mr. JANKLOW. Could you make a list of those for us, these types of things that you think we could utilize to redirect our
Mr. KILAMA. I think when we begin to direct, for example, any kind of assistance, the component of that assistance has to be training the leadership or people in the ministries to understand what the project is and how they can participate fully. If you look at a lot of the problems in Africa today, they are directed to thein fact, I have talked with many people that support development. They simply say, we can't talk to the government because they are corrupt, they are not going to be effective, and they go directly to local communities. Local communities don't make policy and you still have to be able to work with the government, that you provide
Mr. JANKLOW. One more quick question, sir, if I could. The Europeans have filed WTO violations against the United States, the WTO has ruled against us. This country at this point in time has not chosen to comply with the WTO's orders with respectno matter how we feel politically, they have chosen not to comply with the WTO's decision with respect to the European complaints that were apparently proven. What good does it do, and I think we should file, but what good does it do for us to file against them if they are going to ignore the WTO decision like we are doing?
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KILAMA. Maybe Dr. Juma can address that, but my attitude is that, to be honest with you, I am not so sure whether filing a grievance with WTO on biotech is really going to be helpful, because you have got to be able to get the people willing and the political leadership in the country willing to adopt this biotechnology and to adopt this GMO trade. Yes, we may win, but you still have to trade this and people still have to buy it. And if they are resistant within a particular region, I think it would be difficult. Rather than do that, I think we should try to double our efforts in trying to really work closely with many of these people that are opposed at the political level to try to see if we can convince them and not use science as the reason why we want to have biotechnology, because that to me is, as you said, is no longer an issue, and it is the political issue, and we have to figure out skillful ways to be able to convince political leaders.
Mr. JANKLOW. Thank you. My time has expired. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. I am pleased to recognize the gentleman from Hawaii, Mr. Case, and I was glad to be able to cite an example from your State in my opening remarks with the use of biotechnology.
Mr. CASE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I wanted to thank you for that example. That is certainly a perfect example of the benefits that can occur. And I can assure you that the papaya industry in Hawaii was very happy with the use of that technology to, basically, save an industry, a whole industry, as a result of the use of technology to develop a resistance in that one strain. And I am also real proud that my home state has long been engaging in biotechnology.
It really is one of the centers in the world for, particularly, tropical and subtropical crops through the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture. Certainly, through the private sector, I think the Chair cited a couple of decades. I think we have been doing it for, actually, more than a couple of decades in Hawaii and elsewhere in areas such as sugar and pineapple to really yield very high productivity. And I was sorry that the Speaker had left because I was going to note that in recent years, the corn seed industry has done a fair bit of biotechnology in Hawaii because it allows for year-round research, and I am sure that some of the crops in his particular district may have benefited from that research. So I am happy to cross that bridge as well.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. Kilama, I was struck by the same exact point that Mr. Stenholm was when you started to get onto the subject of retaliation in the EU as a result of the use by, or the potential use by, African companies of GMO products. I guess I just want to kind of connect that dot a little bit more, because other members have gone off on the same direction as well. It is one thing for us to have a disagreement between the EU and us over whether the EU will accept our product. It is another thing for them to influence the acceptance of our product elsewhere in the world. And the other thing that strikes me is the testimony from my colleague, Mr. Wolf, that that is crossing the line from commercial imports to humanitarian imports, which seems to me to be a really critical differentiation. Do you agree with that, first of all, that in some of the African countries, the resistance to the use of United States products, or because it is genetically modified, it is being objected to by the EU countries even for humanitarian reasons?
Mr. KILAMA. I agree, and just to add that I think there is just a tremendous fear among a lot of people who are in charge of governments in Africa, that if they go that route, they are not sure they will have that access to the market.
Mr. CASE. Do you know whether they have been told by EU countries? Do you have any evidence or do you have any reason to believe that any of the countries of Africa have been told by countries in the EU that even the acceptance of food from the United States for humanitarian reasons would subject them to retaliation against their exports?
Mr. KILAMA. I don't think there is anything written in paper, but I have talked to at least over 30 countries' leadership in Africa, and I just know that imbedded in their thinking, it may not be something which is written in a paper, that there is just tremendous fear. And I quoted, for example, Vice President Enoch Kavindele from Zambia, who clearly states that we are just very fearful of losing this market. And as long as Europe is resistant to GMO, we really can't put our foot at the door without really knowing what is going to happen. So it may actually be a lot of fear, it may not have real foundation, but the fact is that that fear is there and is inhibiting the ability to embrace biotechnology much more broadly.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CASE. Is it impacting exports from Africa to Europe for non-food products? I guess I could almost see the argument from the EU if they are takingI think you mentioned beef from Botswana. If the GMO modified product was being fed to the beef and then it was being sent to Europe, now, I am sure the science is tentative on that, but at least it would give you a plausible, defensible, maybe rationalization in EU, but is it directed at exports other than Ag, where there is no connection whatsoever scientifically between GMO imports into Africa and then that same product being turned around sent to Europe. Is it just kind of an across the board implication of a threat for exports, generally, from Africa to the EU?
Mr. KILAMA. I think the fear is probably the one that the vice president said. We feel that if we import this food aid, that it will somehow find its way into the farmer's hand, and they will start growing the GMO, which will then create this problem. So it is not so much the actual food aid is a problem. It is a problem with the possibility of this getting into the agriculture chain in terms of production of other agricultural produce.
Mr. CASE. Okay. But let me justmy time is out, but that is what I am getting at. Is the implication from the EU countries that they will not accept exports of any products from Africa, whether it is agriculture or not if they take imports from the United States that are GMO products?
Mr. KILAMA. No. This is only pertaining to agricultural products.
Mr. CASE. I see. So they are trying, they being the EU, is trying to develop that link of the product around the corner?
Mr. KILAMA. Right. And I refer to the Congressman from South Dakota that it really is political, and I think what Europe is looking at is for whatever reason, whether it is because they feel they are behind the United States in terms of ability to compete with the biotech product, or for whatever reason. It could be, and I am only guessing, others may have a better understanding than I have, to actually stall as much as possible to allow them to be able to get to a stage where they can compete. And we have seen that. I have seen that in China, as well, where there is this precautionary principle being now sort of brought up to the front door as a way to, in my opinion, to stall so that the local private sectors are in a position to compete. I don't see that with Europe, though, because there are a lot of companies like Syngenta, AstraZeneca, that are European-based companies, are very active in biotech. So I don't understand the case of Europe.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CASE. Okay. Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Gutknecht.
Mr. GUTKNECHT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for having this hearing and I apologize to all the people that were here because you need to know there are a lot of other meetings going on right now, and that doesn't mean that this issue is not critically important. And I don't see how anyone could watch that 2 1/2-minute video presented by Mr. Wolf and not be moved and not feel just almost visceral anger that political forces are helping to create an environment that allows that kind of thing to happen anywhere on this planet. So I think this committee needs to do all we can to try and stop some of that political nonsense.
I want to also thank my colleague from Hawaii, Mr. Case. I don't know if they were genetically modified, but on the occasion of my birthday last week, the people of Hawaii provided me with some papaya, and if there ever was a sweeter pineapple, I have never tasted it. It was wonderful. So I don't know if it was GMO or not, but it was wonderful and I want to thank him.
I want to pursue something, too, that was mentioned by my colleague from South Dakota. And perhaps, Mr. Chairman, sometime we ought to have a hearing and invite in some American Indian historians because I don't think even people on this committee realize the contributions that American Indians have made to what some might describe as genetically modified crops. The potato was not bred in Ireland. It actually was bred by American Indians here in the United States of America. The tomato, we all know the story of corn and, obviously, of tobacco, and they played a very important role in cross breeding various plants and coming up with many of the products that we all take for granted today.
So the idea of genetically modified crops is not something that is particularly new. It goes back many centuries, and I think we can play a role in this committee. But at the end of the day, I am not really convinced there is much we can do because one of my concerns, and perhaps you want to respond to this, is that the seed industry today is dominated by a relatively small number of multinational pharmaceutical conglomerates. Many of them are based in Europe. And I would use as an example, a couple of years ago, and without naming specific names unless I have to, one of these large conglomerates owned a very large seed company and they had invested hundreds of millions of dollars developing genetically modified crops and marketing them to our farmers. And at the same time, they owned one of the largest baby food companies in the world. And so on one hand, they were marketing genetically modified seeds to our farmers, telling them that they should grow those, and at the same time, at the very same time, they were saying publicly that for their baby food company, they would not buy them.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, it seems to me no matter what we do politically here in the United States, no matter how much pressure we put on the USTR, or the European Union, or whatever, as long as you have CEO's of major conglomerates who are involved in this, who don't have the courage to say what they know to be true, it seems to me that all that we do here in Washington, all that we do in our trade discussions, goes for naught if the leaders of these multinational pharmaceutical companies don't have the courage to say what they know is true. Would you like to comment on that?
Mr. KILAMA. Yes, I could, without getting the trouble. Congressman, I don't have the view that it is really the corporations that are the issue here. I mean, companies are there to make money, and that is their job, and they could do what they have to do in order to sustain their livelihood. That does not prevent any individual or countries to be able to participate at research level and develop their seeds. Besides, in the case of Africa, there are a lot of crops that probably don't have very much economic value to these large corporations you are referring to anyway.
And so, yes, they could come and speak, but on the other end, if they stick out their neck too much and they start losing money, we wouldn't have these corporations available. So I know there is the bashing by a lot of people of the private sector. I don't think that is the issue to me. The issue is are there people who understand that biotech is not just for agriculture, but really is the future for economic development? And that they ought to take a serious look at how they can participate in creating this kind of investment and creating this kind of opportunity; not just to help the agriculture sector but to help a lot of other sectors in times of economic development.
Mr. GUTKNECHT. Mr. Chairman, I will yield back my time, but I want to reserve the right to continue to demonstrate the pernicious nature of some of the large pharmaceutical companies and what they have been doing around the world to American consumers and consumers around the world. I yield back.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. We have a vote coming up, but we have time to get one more individual's question in. We will recognize the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Ballance. Welcome.
Mr. BALLANCE. Thank you, Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Stenholm. Very briefly, I recognize this is an important issue in my State of North Carolina, and particularly, in my district where we do a lot of farming. I want to just raise this brief question, Dr. Juma. And we will take it back, to try to stay out of the politics of it, take it back 2 years. Are we doing enough from our executive branch? This is a great meeting and this is a great issue that we are bringing up in the Congress, but at the highest level of our executive, and as I say, go back to the Clinton administration. Are we making head-to-head contacts with governments to the level that we need to on this issue?
Mr. JUMA. The answer is no. And I would submit that there is a need to have a certain degree of executive leadership on this particular issue because the concerns and misinformation are expressed in many countries at the highest level possible in government. We have had presidents of countries making incredible statements, both publicly but also privately. And so I believe that the issue has gone beyond just the general areas of either public education or simply education. I think it will have to involve some high level engagement.
But I think the entry point for this engagement, and I want to come back to the question that was raised earlier in terms of what you could do politically. I think that in my own assessment and my own research, those countries that have a certain level of research capability, however modest, it is in the area of biotechnology, are less likely to embrace a protectionist position because they expect at some stage in the future to become players in the area of biotechnology. So I would argue that the level of engagement at the highest level possible should be in the context of creating biotechnology partnerships and alliances between the United States and the key developing countries. But in the absence of that constituency, a vacuum, a technological vacuum, exists that is being populated by the anti-technology activists. So I would strongly argue that it cannot be empty leadership. It has to be leadership that is tied to actual partnerships in the construction of biotechnology platforms, and that is what I think is going to make a difference.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BALLANCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. The vote on the floor is on the previous question on House Resolution 160, the Child Abduction Prevention Act. I intend to come back and resume questioning after that vote is concluded, but two members cannot return. I am going to recognize them each for 1 minute. The gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Smith, and the gentleman from North Dakota, Mr. Pomeroy. Mr. Smith.
Mr. SMITH. Gentlemen, thank you for being here. I chair the Research Subcommittee on Science and we have held three hearings on biotechnology so far. We are scheduling another hearing specifically on Africa in hopes that if we can do something that is really helpful and really good in biotechnology in some of those countries, it might be something that would expand a lot of impression. So I have asked my Science Committee staff to sort of catch you when we run for a vote, and so Dan Byers is going to be talking to you about either submitting testimony. In our legislation that was passed in December, we said that we are going to provide money to bring in scientists from the African countries to work with American scientists in developing the kind of products that they think would be most helpful in their country. So hopefully, we can get our foot in the door. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. The gentleman from North Dakota.
Mr. POMEROY. Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this important hearing, and it has been excellent. I want to commend to all paying attention, and in particular, the testimony of Dr. Juma, because I think it is a very well rounded statement about this issue. The issue is far more than whether or not we can get our commodities produced with this technology into Africa. It is about the evolution of the technology itself for application in developing sustainable agriculture in Africa.
It seems to me some of the difficulties we have had with global acceptance of biotechnology has been that we have ignored principle number one, what does the marketplace want. And so our initial efforts have been more at how much pesticide you can put on the commodities we are growing here for improved production efficiencies, not nutrition, flavor, things that the customer is going to call for in looking at the product.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Africa, and I cite specifically page 6 and 7 of the testimony, today's technological capabilities in fields such as genomics make it possible to adapt crops to these diverse ecosystems in ways that are consistent with the principles of sustainable agriculture, yet, you go on to note developing countries that need biotechnology most are also the ones least involved in its development. Trends show the early diffusion of transgenic crops has been largely in temperate regions and limited to a few major commercial crops. The promise of biotechnology to meet the needs of low income families in developing worlds still remain a distant dream.
You don't point any blame for that, but you do indicate more can be done in this area, and if we want to improve receptivity of Africa as a major potential market area for biotechnology, we need to work on developing sustainable crops that will aid ongoing food sustainability in Africa. I really commend that testimony. I found it very interesting. Mr. Chairman, thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. The committee will stand in recess until after this vote. We will start back up as soon as I get back.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order, and at this time, I will recognize the gentleman from Minnesota for any questions he might have.
Mr. PETERSON. The next panel maybe.
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Kansas.
Mr. MORAN. No questions, Mr. Chairman, thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Any other questions? Well, gentlemen, it seems like we have detained you unnecessarily. We thank you very much for your participation today. Your contribution has been very, very helpful, and we hope you will continue your work to spread the word not only in Africa and in the United States, but around the world, that this is the future of food. It is a great salvation for the 800 million to 1 billion people who go to bed hungry every night and who could be greatly helped by the advancement of biotechnology, something that not only is very, very safe, but also is very environmentally sound. And really, a way to help people who live in terrain and on land that isn't always suitable for production to have new advanced technology that will allow them to plant and grow useful and beneficial crops. So we thank you again for your contribution today.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KILAMA. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. We will now welcome to the table panel 4 and we have added the gentleman from panel 5 to this one unified panel, which includes Mr. Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, DC; Mr. Gary Joachim, member of the board of directors of the American Soybean Association, Claremont, MN; Mr. Leon Corzine, chairman of the Biotechnology Working Group, National Corn Growers Association, Assumption, IL; and Mr. Michael Deegan, president and CEO of the Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance, also of Washington, DC. Gentlemen, we welcome all of you. I again remind you that your full statements will be made a part of the record and ask you to limit your testimony to 5 minutes, starting with Mr. Stallman. Welcome.
STATEMENT OF BOB STALLMAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. STALLMAN. Good afternoon now, I guess, Mr. Chairman, and Ranking Member Stenholm, members of the committee. I am Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and I am pleased to provide you with our views about the impacts of artificial barriers to trade and food aid in agricultural products produced through biotechnology.
Gaining access to international markets for products of agricultural biotechnology is one of AFBF's top priority issues. The promise of this new technology to farmers and ranchers and to people throughout the world has only begun to be realized. The opportunities of this new technology to improve agricultural productivity, to improve human health and nutrition, and to improve the world's environment are endless. We believe that any attempts by other nations to block the import of products of biotechnology based on environmental, human, or animal health concerns, absent any scientific evidence, constitutes an artificial trade barrier and is unacceptable.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Stenholm already referenced this remark. I am going to repeat it, and frankly, I think it needs to be repeated around the world over and over again. There is no peer review scientific risk assessment that concludes that products of agricultural biotechnology intended for food use are inherently less safe to humans, animals, or the environment than their traditional counterparts. We are concerned about the ongoing discussions in the Conventional on Biological Diversity and its Biosafety Protocol, the Codex Alimentarius, the International Plant Protection Convention, the WTO negotiations on trade and environment, and in the legislative and regulatory bodies of dozens of countries throughout the world, that may result in the erection of artificial trade barriers for products of biotechnology.
It would take a lot of time to go through a lot of these examples in detail so I am only going to highlight a few, and the other esteemed panelists here will go into a much greater depth, I think, on specific commodity, economic, and market effects.
The most notable artificial barrier to trade of biotech products is the moratorium against new approvals of biotech products in the European Union. Widely agreed by most countries to be WTO inconsistent, the moratorium has cost U.S. growers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost sales since it went into effect in 1998. AFBF and more than 30 other agricultural organizations have campaigned hard to get the administration to initiate a WTO dispute settlement proceeding against the moratorium. We believe that a WTO decision, which we fully expect to be in favor of the U.S. position, is the only reasonable remedy available to U.S. growers either to lift the moratorium or impose retaliatory tariffs on EU products imported into the United States.
The EU's proposed solution to its biotech moratorium, which is the enactment of new rules requiring biotech products to be labeled and traced from farm to fork, are equally inconsistent with the WTO agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary measures and the agreement on technical barriers to trade. A WTO inconsistent solution to a WTO inconsistent problem is not acceptable. Mr. Chairman, this committee and the administration should not believe that the EU biotech problem will be solved if labeling and traceability rules are enacted and the moratorium is lifted. As proposed, the labeling and traceability rules only make the problem worse by erecting new, unscientific barriers to processed food products in addition to agricultural commodities.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The moratorium, and labeling and traceability rules will not be the last artificial barriers to agricultural biotechnology in the EU. There are indications that some EU member countries may require additional rules to be enacted to clarify environmental liability for agricultural biotechnology before they will vote to end the moratorium.
The ongoing EU moratorium has also fostered the imposition of artificial barriers to agricultural biotechnology in other countries. You heard about the African example from the previous panel. In China, agricultural biotechnology is strongly embraced and research is significant. Biotech crops such as cotton, soybeans, and corn are produced in substantial quantities. Nevertheless, the Chinese government has recently used biotech regulation for the purpose of slowing or halting trade in U.S. soybeans.
New laws and regulations affecting products of agricultural biotechnology are being considered in 44 nations that have ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Biosafety Protocol. These nations are attempting to comply with their obligations to this international environmental agreement that directs how member countries must treat living modified organisms. The United States is not a signatory to the convention, however, the terms of the Biosafety Protocol require U.S. shippers of biotech commodities to meet certain conditions before they can be accepted if the receiving country is a signatory to the convention. We believe this would be in conflict with WTO rules.
Mr. Chairman, winning widespread international acceptance of this new technology will be challenging and require considerable persistence. We appreciate the support of members of this committee on this issue. All of us need to continue to aggressively engage foreign governments to help realize the benefits and promises of agricultural biotechnology. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Stallman appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Stallman, thank you. Mr. Joachim.
STATEMENT OF GARY JOACHIM, MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, AMERICAN SOYBEAN ASSOCIATION, CLAREMONT, MN
Mr. JOACHIM. Good afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I am Gary Joachim, a soybean and corn farmer from Claremont, Minnesota and member of the Board of Directors of the American Soybean Association. ASA represents 26,000 producer members on national issues important to all U.S. soybean farmers.
We appreciate this invitation to appear before you today to present our views on the impact of issues related to agricultural biotechnology on exports of U.S. soybeans and soy products. ASA is and has been a strong supporter of biotechnology. We have supported domestic and global policies that encourage its acceptance and growth. Since half of annual U.S. soybean production is exported, we recognize the importance of maintaining access in foreign markets for this technology.
As you are aware, RoundUp Ready soybeans were released for commercial production in 1996, after approval in the EU and Japan. This last year, 74 percent of the U.S. crop was RoundUp Ready. However, ASA is concerned about the possible disruption of foreign market access resulting from delayed approvals of other new biotech soybean varieties in major U.S. export markets.
In 1997, ASA sent letters asking the major biotech seed companies to not commercialize new soybean varieties until they have approved approval for import in our major customers. In the event a company chose to go forward with commercialization, ASA asked that they prevent the unapproved variety from entering the export market. ASA provided a list of conditions we believe must be met to satisfy this assurance. Finally, ASA asked these companies to document that their production and marketing system met these closed-loop safeguards.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As a result of these measures, we are confident that the only biotech soybean entering the export market is the RoundUp Ready variety. However, delays in obtaining approvals in major foreign markets, particularly, the European Union, is denying U.S. farmers the ability to grow several new biotech soybean varieties already approved for U.S. planting. Clearly, the EU's actions are affecting the bottom line of U.S. soybean farmers.
U.S. exports of soybeans and soy products have been increasingly disrupted by the actions of the European Union. Despite having approved RoundUp Ready soybeans in 1996, the EU later enacted a mandatory labeling law which requires food manufacturers to stigmatizing GMO label on food products containing more than 1 percent of RoundUp Ready soybeans. This has caused food manufacturers who market in the EU to switch away from using U.S. origin soy protein or to reformulate their products so they are not using soybean ingredients at all.
In an effort to rationalize its inconsistent laws, the EU is preparing to adopt new regulations on mandatory tracing and mandatory labeling of biotech or biotech derived products that would further restrict access for U.S. soybeans and soy products. The traceability regulations require importers and food processors to trace biotech agricultural products and ingredients from farm to dinner plate under a paperwork intensive traceability and segregation regime. Compliance with this regulation would be costly, onerous, and unworkable given the realities of bulk commodity production, marketing, transport, and food processing.
The EU's proposed new labeling regulation requires that shipments of agricultural commodities or any food product ingredient containing more than 0.9 percent be labeled as containing biotech. It should be noted that the EU's proposed labeling laws do not extend to biotech processing aids, such as enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins produced by European companies and widely used in EU food production. The EU argues that such biotech products do not constitute a ''material'' part of the final product.
We have discussed this situation with administration officials, who have stated a willingness to consider filing a case with the WTO should the EU go forward with their proposals. However, we are concerned that once in place, these new regulations will be very difficult to repeal or modify. Even if the United States should win a WTO case, the EU could choose to pay compensation through other trade concessions that would not restore the harm done to our industry.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Meanwhile, Japan has taken a more rational approach that has not impeded our access. Japan has enacted a GMO labeling law that combines commercial best efforts to prevent mix-in of biotech derived commodities with a 5 percent threshold for labeling. This requirement has proven to be manageable for most exporters and food manufacturers, and our exports to Japan have not suffered.
China has emerged in recent years as our largest foreign market, however, its regulatory agencies have been highly unpredictable in establishing regulations governing imported biotech crops and products. The result has been a stop and go roller coaster marketplace where contracting for new shipments of U.S. soybeans actually came to a halt for a time for fear that they would be rejected upon arrival at Chinese ports due to lack of acceptable documentation.
ASA strongly supported China's entry into the WTO and worked hard to obtain meaningful access for U.S. soybeans and soy products. The administration and Congress must continue to insist that China's leadership honor the commitment it made to President Bush that access to the Chinese market will not be restricted.
We had very telling testimony earlier this morning about the price developing countries are paying, and time precludes me from pointing out the many instances, and it would be repetitious where developing countries have restricted or even rejected U.S. food because of the fear and uncertainty raised by EU regulations. We all recall the tragedy of Zambia's government refusing U.S. origin food aid, which included soy products, due to its presumed biotech content. The governments of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Uganda, India, and Ecuador have all imposed restrictions that would have hindered the import and distribution of U.S. soy containing food aid.
Coincident with and impacting decisions being made by individual countries on biotech regulatory issues are ongoing negotiations to establish international standards governing trade and labeling. These include the Biosafety Protocol and the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Adoption of onerous biotech rules under the protocol or the codex would provide legitimacy to the EU's mandatory traceability and labeling regulations and encourage or require other countries to follow suit. Of particular concern to us, the Biosafety Protocol includes references to the precautionary principle, which is used by the EU to justify the use of unsubstantiated concerns about food safety rather than science based determinations. It is unclear whether the protocol would take precedence over the EU's sanitary and phytosanitary agreement and the agreement on technical barriers to trade, which require that trade restrictions be based on sound science. However, based on the EU's interpretation that the protocol should take precedence over the WTO, developing countries are already beginning to follow the EU example.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In our view, it is critical that Congress and the administration develop a comprehensive strategy to improve the environment for trade in biotech crops and their products. The strategy should include the following components: (1) The administration should immediately prepare WTO cases to be filed against the EU's planned traceability and labeling and novel food and feed regulations. Assurance that the United States will act forcefully will discourage other countries that are considering following the EU example. (2) The administration should continue enlisting the support of other countries for a WTO complaint over the EU's continuing illegal 5-year moratorium on biotech approvals. The United States must not accept imposition of the EU's traceability and labeling regulations as a condition for ending its moratorium on new biotech approvals. (3) Efforts by the administration to help developing countries establish an infrastructure for setting environmental and food safety standards should be significantly enhanced. (4) The administration must immediately develop, identify a viable alternative to the Biosafety Protocol for regulating future trade in biotech crops and their products and work with other biotech exporting countries to achieve its rapid adaptation.
This concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman, and I will be glad to respond to questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Joachim appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Joachim. Mr. Corzine.
STATEMENT OF LEON CORZINE, CHAIRMAN, BIOTECHNOLOGY WORKING GROUP, NATIONAL CORN GROWERS ASSOCIATION, ASSUMPTION, IL
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CORZINE. Good afternoon. Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Stenholm, and members of the committee, my name is Leon Corzine. I am a fifth generation farmer from Assumption, Illinois. My son, Craig, is a sixth generation, which allows me to be with you today. I am a board member of the National Corn Growers Association and chairman of NCGA's Biotechnology Working Group.
I would like to thank the committee for giving me the opportunity to speak today regarding artificial barriers to trade, food aid, and agricultural products produced through biotechnology. As shown, this topic is very timely, and I commend the committee and the chairman for convening today's hearing.
International acceptance to biotechnology is one of the largest challenges facing corn growers. This pressure will increase with the release of two new events this year. I can personally attest to the importance of this issue. The region I farm is impacted significantly by trade barriers and the use of new technology is restricted since Illinois exports a significant share of its corn and corn products. As a result, I am prevented from using these environmentally friendly systems.
Much has changed in the world market for corn in the 7 years since the introduction of biotech corn. To date, trade problems with biotechnology have had moderate influence on the overall U.S. export situation for corn. However, in some important markets, the influence has been dramatic, and we anticipate that the next few years may bring increasing pressures on U.S. corn exports as more countries introduce biotechnology labeling and approval systems and move to implement the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
I would like to spend a few minutes summarizing some current and future biotech issues. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It also may be a little repetitive as things have been mentioned before. But first, in Asia, as led by Japan, remains our No. 1 region market for corn. Exports to the area have remained at about $2.2 billion over the past decade. However, there have been some important shifts in the distribution of the market, several attributable to difficulties with biotech regulation.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Japan has adopted a pragmatic approach to biotechnology. While they have instituted a program of labeling, they have limited it to a small segment of foods and have included reasonable commercial tolerances. The big question on biotechnology in Asia is China. As mentioned, China holds long-term promise as a market for U.S. corn, however, trade disruptions experienced the soybean market could easily occur in corn as well.
The big success story for U.S. corn exports is Mexico, as their emergence as our second largest customer. While we have not experienced trade difficulties with Mexico due to biotechnology, we should recognize Mexico is sensitive to potential advantageous presence issues because of its position as the center of the origin of corn.
We are concerned about he recent controversy in Sub-Saharan Africa concerning the acceptability of U.S. corn. There has been a concerted campaign by some NGO's based in Europe to convince those hungry African countries that food that has been safely grown and consumed for years in the United States is unsafe, and if they accept this aid, they will somehow lose those export markets to Europe.
While we are concerned about the potential disruption of this outlet for U.S. corn, we are more concerned at the prospect for scare mongering about the safety of U.S. corn affecting the livelihood of citizens around the world. Let me emphasize Europe. They are the clear exception in the corn trade situation. The corn trade with Europe worth over $300 million per year in the mid 1990's has disappeared since 1998 due to the EU's inability to operate its own regulatory process. Even with the resumption of a predictable approval system in Europe, pending regulations on labeling of foods derived from biotechnology and on product tracing will likely make it extremely difficult for European food companies to use either U.S. corn or many of the food products made from corn. While we have lost the whole corn market in Europe, we continue to ship over a half billion dollars of corn oil and processed corn feed to Europe. Depending on how the new regulations are implemented, this market could be at risk as well.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me take this opportunity to thank Speaker Hastert, Chairman Goodlatte, and other members of this committee who recently signed a letter to President Bush urging a case in the WTO against the EU biotech moratorium. NCGA is thankful and we support your efforts wholeheartedly.
What is clear from a review of world regulation of biotech and corn trade is there is little consistency from region to region or from country to country. More than anything, we need to find some way to achieve international harmonization, or at a minimum, mutual recognition of regulatory systems for biotechnology in order to continue our trade in the future. Without sound science and confidence in regulatory regimes, fear will dominate. As mentioned previously, the Europeans convinced Africa, a continent riddled with starvation as we saw, that biotech corn is poisonous. If we allow this trend to continue, confusion and mistrust will rule, damaging all aspects of trade for exporters and importers alike.
Having described the challenges facing corn growers and agriculture, I do not recommend retreat. Our future as agricultural producers is linked to biotechnology and trade. The U.S. Government and organizations like NCGA need to promote the benefits of biotechnology while backing up those benefits with scientific analyses that gain and sustain the confidence of even the most skeptical individual. This is a daunting challenge but one we stand ready to confront.
In conclusion, we look forward to working with the committee on solutions to these problems. I thank you again for the opportunity to address the committee. I would also like to, for the record, submit NCGA and U.S. Grains Council sent a letter to President Bush concerning WTO action, and I would like to submit that, if I could.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, it will be made a part of the record.
Mr. CORZINE. Thank you very much.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Corzine appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Corzine. Mr. Deegan, welcome.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL W. DEEGAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT INTERNATIONAL AND VOLUNTEERS IN OVERSEAS COOPERATIVE ASSISTANCE, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. DEEGAN. Thank you very much, Chairman Goodlatte, Mr. Stenholm, other members of the committee. Since 2001, ACDI/VOCA, which is a PVO affiliated with the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, has conducted regular surveys of U.S. officials, private sector representatives, and international organizations on the subject of GMO issues in food aid programs.
Mr. Chairman, we have found that concerns have gradually increased and that GMO issues are now a significant impediment to food security in some low income food deficit countries. This growing problem can be attributed to efforts of advocacy groups to curtail GMO's, and we have firsthand experience taking on Greenpeace in Georgia in a Bt potato program; the increased media attention to the political aspects of the GMO issue; continuing resistance from the European Union to GMO's; and increased desire on the part of developing governments to play a regulatory role in areas that they are not fully qualified to participate.
In 2002, U.S. food aid reached nearly 4.7 million tons. Of that total, approximately 1.5 million tons were corn, soybeans, and related products. Thus, roughly 35 percent of U.S. food aid could be considered as having varying degrees of GM content. Food-insecure people pay the dearest price because of the GMO controversy, but there are other drawbacks. PVO's have increased operating costs due to troubleshooting that they have to do relative to the shipments. More expensive commodities often have to be substituted to make up for caloric deficiencies. Commercial markets for U.S. commodities may suffer when a food product's image is tainted. The potential for GMO based domestic food production increases is reduced. PVO's incur financial risk if commodities are held up by the recipient country, and that can be in ship per diem at $6,000 a day or storage that is not necessary, which is at market price and pilferage.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is no international consensus on the acceptability of GMO foods. You have heard about the Codex Alimentarius Commission early today. Mr. Stenholm addressed it directly, but there is no conclusion. The bottom line is the ultimate responsibility for accepting the food aid containing GMO's would rest with the recipient government. They are the ones that make the decision. USDA contends that biotech developments undergo a rigorous evaluation and approval based on U.S. laws and regulations which have health and safety as their primary goals, and that once a plant variety passes regulatory review, it can be used like any other food. Food aid commodities are the same as those consumed by Americans every day. Our Government does not believe that the food production and distribution system can reliably separate GM foods and their non-biotech counterparts.
Our Government has launched education programs in food aid recipient countries to clarify the U.S. regulatory process to address host country concerns, to correct misconceptions concerning the health and environmental implications of biotech products and to develop foreign markets. Congress wisely included a provision in the current farm bill, authorizing USDA to establish a biotech and agricultural trade program to remove resolve or mitigate significant regulatory non-tariff barriers to the export of U.S. agricultural commodities in section 1543(a).
You heard about several of the problems that GMO foods have encountered by other speakers. In Uganda, which is one of our major countries for providing assistance to HIV/AIDS families, we have had shipments confiscated by Ugandan custom officials concerned about GMO soy products. After intensive discussions and lab tests, the commodities were released but the Ugandan government legislation has not been approved, and we are anticipating continuing problems. We are feeding some 70,000 families who are HIV positive every month with food aid CSB (corn soy blend).
You heard about the southern Africa problems, in Zambia and in Zimbabwe. Mr. Joachim covered the ASA side of the issue. It is terrible what has happened. The Zambian ban on GMO food aid will be a major hurdle in preventing starvation of over 2.9 million people who need 21,000 metric tons of food aid a month. New GMO guidelines have been submitted to the Zambian cabinet for review, but none of the details have been made public. With half of 12 1/2 million people at risk of starvation, Zimbabwe relaxed its previous hard line stance on GMO's and allowed the introduction of U.S. corn that had already been milled and thus would not endanger the export potential of their local corn. The government of Zimbabwe is currently working to develop a biosafety screening system. It is not clear what form that will take.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Bolivia, Bolivia banned all food aid and food imports from the United States during March and April of 2001 due to GMO concerns. Food aid being managed by ADRA, CARE, and Food for the Hungry International was affected. ADRA was forced to store flour in warehouses for 7 weeks at considerable expense until the ban was lifted.
Congressman Wolf covered the problem in India, and it kind of gets me because India is now big in Bt cotton. So it really raises some questions of whether it is the science or whether it is the politics.
The PVO views are that food aid programs that utilize GM commodities are accepted provided that the commodities have demonstrated to be safe through an independent transparent and scientifically based approval system as we have. Restricting genetically modified commodities and products from food aid programs would be extremely detrimental to addressing immediate food needs around the world. It is the responsibility of the U.S. Government to address the issues raised by the recipient governments as to the acceptability of GM modified food aid commodities.
ACDI plays a major facilitating role in communicating the recipient government's concerns and providing support documentation.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Deegan, if you might bring your remarks to a close?
Mr. DEEGAN. I definitely will, sir. Real quick, the administration should accelerate its implementation of the points agreed to in a conference with PVO's that they had last fall. We would like to see this happen. USDA should develop and publicize the implementing section of 1543(a), the farm bill. The USDA has established the biotech team under the general sales manager and we applaud them for that.
Dr. Kilama and Dr. Juma talked about the training. We need to get back to the professional degree programs that we had in the early 1980s. We had 8,000 students in agriculture degree programs in the land grant colleges at that time. We are now down to fewer than 200, and these are the guys, the gentlemen, the graduates go on to be the leaders, the ministers, and the professors that make the difference.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We also need to enhance the support for the agriculture programs at USAID in the Economic Growth and Agriculture Bureau. Secretary Veneman is taking on an agriculture ministry and hosting this out in Sacramento in June. GMO's will be a major part of this ministerial that she is hosting. And USDA and USAID will also be addressing the GMO food aid issue at the annual Food Conference, April 15 through 17 in Kansas City. Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Deegan appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Deegan, for your very helpful testimony. Gentlemen, let me ask all of you, if the European Union lifts its moratorium on biotechnology approvals and then implements the traceability and labeling requirements, do you see any potential for change in agricultural trade levels? Will the problems generated by the new rules be as bad as the moratorium itself or perhaps even worse? Mr. Stallman.
Mr. STALLMAN. Mr. Chairman, I believe that we will be in a worse situation if that turns out to be the case. Those labeling and traceability rules I think expand the problems that we currently have under the moratorium. It has been clear from some in the retail food sector that they, in essence, will be impossible to comply with, and will certainly affect the sourcing of products now that are sourced from U.S. sources. So just in summary, I think we would be worse off. I think the rules for WTO are inconsistent as they are proposed now for labeling and traceability, and whether or not we have a challenge on the moratorium or labeling and traceability both, I think we will have to challenge that in the WTO dispute settlement process.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Mr. Corzine.
Mr. CORZINE. Mr. Chairman, I would concur. It really gets down to some negotiation with our government, and you get to tolerance type issues and what we can truly do and what we cannot do. In one sense, it could be worse, because some of the new regulations will address and make things tighter for feed products, as well, and labeling of those, which is not there currently, so that is another shift that is definitely in the wrong direction.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. Are there biotech products that are currently approved here in the United States but are not being used by farmers because of their concerns about the attitudes against biotechnology in Europe and some other places around the world?
Mr. CORZINE. If I may, Mr. Chairman, yes, there are.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. CORZINE. We have several products that are very good, very environmentally friendly products, and as I mentioned, we have two new products this year that would be very helpful in my region, in particular, but across the Corn Belt, that we are not able to use because of corn products going into Europe. We could cut our chemical use on the insecticide side, not completely, but we could cut them by half to two-thirds or maybe even three-fourths with the root worm technology that has just been approved by Monsanto. And Dow and Pioneer are also working on a root worm product that will be here soon.
We are glad that the industry is going ahead with the investment in technology, even with this problem, but it is very serious. Like I mentioned, my son is a sixth generation on our farm. He runs the planter, and there are many cases and issues of handling these toxic chemicals, that if we could reduce those with this new technology, it would be very good, as well as it would help on the yield side. But primarily, from the environmental side, there is also RoundUp Ready corn and a couple of other products that are not approved in Europe that we have to hold back from in my area.
Mr. JOACHIM. Mr. Chairman, I might say that the situation with soybeans is pretty similar. We have at least one event, which is Liberty light soybeans, that has been approved in the United States, and it has been sitting on the shelf in the EU since 1998, I believe. And it is notif this was approved in the EU, so that our farmers would feel safe to go ahead and plant it, it would give us another choice, and it would also end the de facto monopoly that the current herbicide tolerance trade provider currently enjoys. That should help lower our cost, and make us more competitive on the world market if these approvals could move forward.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. What kind of outreach and education has the American Soybean Association and other groups done to show the world market the benefits of technology?
Mr. JOACHIM. Well, the American Soybean Association has been active since before I got on the Board, I believe since about 1995 or 1996, even before the product RoundUp Ready was commercialized. In fact, we had people in Europe, two farmers in Europe right now, today, on a mission trying to inject some sanity, we hope, into the European approval process and into the new regulations. And it has been one of the things that we spend an immense amount of time on, really, I think, time in some instances, we could spend better off dealing with not problems, but areas that need addressing in the United States, such as environmental protection. And actually, some of these lack of approvals, really, are detrimental to the environment because it makes it harder to use no-till and all, so to a certain extent, we are using more chemicals that aren't as friendly as the biotech soybeans would allow us to use.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. The gentleman from Texas.
Mr. STENHOLM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Stallman, your statement that I mentioned in my opening remarks bears repeating again. The American Farm Bureau Federation has yet to discover any peer reviewed scientific risk assessment that concludes that products of agricultural biotechnology intended for food use are inherently less safe to humans, animals, or the environment than the traditional counterparts. And not only have you not been able to find it, no one has been able to find such a peer review. Now, there are those that will find their opinions, and they are expressed. Greenpeace was mentioned, for example. Everyone is welcome to their opinion, but when you have that opinion, and then translate it into political decisions that have the effect on trade that basically will stop technological development, more reasonable heads need to get involved in this. And that is where the previous panel, talking about education, is so important, and what you are doing through your various associations is so important.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The WTO requires a member country to treat imported products the same way it treats domestically produced products. How will, or does, the EU justify its exemption from its labeling and traceability regulations for the biotech processing aids that were mentioned in your testimony, enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins, in light of its failure to exempt soybean oil derived from biotech soybeans? How do they do that?
Mr. JOACHIM. Well, I think, Mr. Stenholm, this is a clear example where a person, or an institution, or a country can hold two somewhat diametrically opposed concepts in their mind at the same time. We don't think they really can do that. They just do it.
Mr. CORZINE. I would concur with that. That is what I found. I have been over there a couple of times. In our organization, we team up both with the Farm Bureau, and the soybean folks, and the U.S. Grains Council on missions to Europe, and find the exact same thing. They just ignore it. You bring it out and it is like they just turn the page. So we need to push harder on that, I believe, and I do think the timing, I would add, is right, not only for this meeting, but I find the Europeans are somewhat backpedaling because of what has happened in Africa. And we needour government can push on their government. They have let their NGO's, which they helped fund, run rampant on this issue, and I submit that they could quiet those down quite a bit and help reason to prevail.
Mr. STENHOLM. I would give a little advice to our European friends on this. Mr. Stallman, I agree with your answer a moment ago regarding the trace back and the traceability, the labeling question. Be careful what you ask for, you might get it. The inconsistencies of this debate, when you start exempting some and not others, you are going to find yourself in a hole you can't dig yourself out of, except politically, and that is going to destroy trade. Ultimately, it will destroy trade, but even more importantly than that, it will destroy the development of technology.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Final question, this year the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol is expected to be ratified. The protocol will influence the movement of lab modified organisms, and therefore, trade in agricultural products. What are the likely impacts on U.S. agriculture producers and exporters from this? Mr. Stallman.
Mr. STALLMAN. Well, as I think I referenced in my statement, once it is ratified and once countries that are signatories start trying to comply, we think that will put up a barrier to the importation of products derived through biotechnology that is WTO inconsistent. The problem is there will have to be a determination, whether the Biosafety Protocol trumps WTO trade rules, or are we going to abide by WTO trade rules which says there has to be science and reasons for putting up barriers like this. So once again, that will be another case, I think, in the making, and there will have to be a determination as to which agreement, which treaty, has priority. The Europeans and other countries would say that the Biosafety Protocol would take precedence over the WTO. That is what they are trying to say. We think they are wrong. And ultimately, that issue will have to be resolved.
Mr. STENHOLM. I appreciate very much Chairman Goodlatte's interest in this, and I assure you that we will be working together. I know he will be leading us in proper oversight of these treaties, so that we take a good hard look at these agreements before, ultimately, anything is voted on in the United States Congress. Thank you all very much for your testimony today.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Smith.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Probably the greatest potential advantage to genetic technology is in the developing countries, where we have the potential now of picking out one or two genes and implanting them or taking them out of a different food product, and having a food product that can grow in outlying soils or under climatic conditions that some of those countries can't grow food products in. And when you talk rationally, in our Science Committee, as I mentioned earlier, we had three hearings, and Mr. Chairman, we also brought in Greenpeace and some of the anti-organizations, and even testimony with the European Union.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And of course, our argument is that, traditionally, where you have maybe 25 to 35,000 genes in a particular plant product, and you either through crossbreeding or even hybrid breeding, you are taking a chance of what genes might turn out, and historically, we have come up with some poisoned products with that kind of cross breeding. Now we have the ability to know what the characteristics are of that particular gene and not have that extra risk. And when you add to that the oversight that we have in this country, unlike most other countries, that I think make some of those other countries nervous, our oversight in regulatory oversight in food and drug, and USDA, and EPA, still, the reaction in the debates with the European leaders are, well it is we are simply going on what consumers want to buy. But as we proceed on WTO negotiations, I think part of what we need to insist on is that a country that lets emotional rather than scientific information prevail in this discussion, needs to have some kind of responsibility to give the scientific information.
And of course, what Greenpeace goes on is what they call or what we call the precautionary principle is you don't know what its effect on 10 generations from now might be on whether it is the monarch butterfly or whatever. And so they have emotionally convinced enough people that there is some danger, and that is one reason, of course, that we have problems throughout Europe and Japan.
But the other problem is that I think, and this is what I want your evaluation on, that there is a real effort to use this as an excuse to keep out some of the competition; namely, American competition. And if we are going to get our foot in the door meeting with the scientific community in the Netherlands, they said, well, look, why don't you produce something that helps people. And of course, what we are doing, it helps farmers a little bit, it helps maybe the environment, a tough discussion a little bit, but we sort of lost as allies the pharmaceutical industry that nobody complains about. But our effort and where does the money come from to produce those kind of golden rice or other efforts may be other than government, but it seems to me that it would behoove the agricultural community also to contribute towards the development of research that can add the vitamins, the minerals, the kind of food product than can help the cure of the blank banana disease.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It seems like we have to get our foot in the door to develop the kind of product that consumers say, boy, this is really going to make me thin so I don't have to exercise, or I use that as maybe give me your reaction. Because what we are pushing is something that helps us farmers a little bit be more productive. But in terms of people saying, boy, I want to buy that product more than maybe the 2 or 3 cents that they experience in a reduced cost because of increased productivity. Just any comments you might have.
Mr. CORZINE. If I may, maybe I will start off. We are able to make the argument very clearly that with the Bt corn product, corn bore product, for example, that it does help us produce a higher quality product, and that resonates well in some places, because with less insect damage to the grain, you get better shelf life, and you can move forward with better products provided to the customer. But as you say, we have pushed very hard on the biotech providers from the corn side to get these other products with direct consumer benefits developed, and there are some very close. There are some that even address some of the fatty acid issues, that if you use that particular grain, why, it is almost as healthy as eating fish, for example, rather than incorporating some fish into your diet rather than all beef.
Those kind of things are on the horizon. They are very close, as well as other areas of the vitamin benefits and things that will be there. Maybe in some of the plant derived biologics we have those issues as well, which is a whole other area. But to help provide cheaper drugs to humanity to take care of hepatitis and other kind of things are on the horizon.
Mr. SMITH. Several years ago, and I was a little disappointed, but several years ago out in a WTO conference in Seattle, the agricultural community, I think, got sold a little bit of a bill of goods on separating the pharmaceutical decisions in biotech away from the agricultural decisions because nobody is complaining about the great drugs that we are producing through biotechnology.
Mr. CORZINE. That is accurate. I concur.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Minnesota, Mr. Peterson.
Mr. PETERSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for your leadership in calling this hearing. A lot of my producers are very interested in these issues. I would like for you to give me your assessment of the apparent strategy of the administration postponing initiating a dispute in the WTO over the EU moratorium on the approval of these GM crops.
Mr. STALLMAN. Well, we have been actively, as an organization along with many other organizations, encouraging the filing of a case, feeling that we are sort of at the end of our rope and it doesn't look like there is much progress being made over in Europe with respect to the moratorium. Interestingly enough, I even had one EU official who remained nameless that indicated that we probably would have a better WTO case on the labeling and traceability rules, not that we want to have them implemented first to have to take the case. We have been strongly encouraging the administration. USTR was supportive of that. USDA Secretary Veneman was supportive of that. And although I think we understand that now, given the events that are going on in the world, in Iraq, that we would be distracted in our focus in trying to go forward right now. So it is not that we don't want it. We want it, we want it as soon as it is feasible and as soon as can focus our efforts on achieving a successful outcome. So we view this as sort of a temporary respite, I guess, as we resolve some other issues in the world. But we are going to continue to strongly encourage the administration to go ahead in the filing of the case.
Mr. PETERSON. And I assume you all agree with that?
Mr. CORZINE. Yes.
Mr. JOACHIM. Yes.
Mr. PETERSON. Do you think that farmers would be better off if we brought this to a head rather than to wait around? Do I understand where you are at?
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. STALLMAN. There is one addition to that, and I think there was kind of a question imbedded for another panel. There are two other reasons why that aren't directly related to the EU rules, that we need to be firm and move forward with the case. The one is prevent the spread of the EU disease precautionary principle, the idea that we can use these trade barriers, unscientific trade barriers, to prevent products from being in other countries, or looking at the EU playbook and trying to figure out ways to do the same thing, and that is one reason. And the other reason is domestic. Our producers, agricultural producers, have been supportive of trade in the past. We hope they will continue to be supportive, but that support is going to be conditioned on our government showing that we are willing to enforce the trade agreements that we have and this is the category that this falls in. If we can't enforce trade agreements that are in place, then we lose confidence in that whole system.
Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Joachim, what is the outlook for U.S. exports of soybeans to China in 2003?
Mr. JOACHIM. Mr. Chairman, in 2003well, so far this year, we have exported a little over 200 million bushels. That was, obviously, from the 2002 crop. Assuming we have a normal crop, I would think we would be someplace in the same ballpark in the next marketing year. That is a little bit like askingpretty soon, you are going to ask me what the price is going to be, and then I will really have to claim ignorance.
Mr. PETERSON. What is your view on the possible extension of China's interim approval system?
Mr. JOACHIM. Well, so far, we are quite confident that the Chinese are doing what is best for China, and it has been our feeling, but we have no way of knowing this for sure, that one of the reasons they have had this stop and go approval is to withhold for a tiny time window. Our crop and the Chinese crop, obviously, both have the same window. They are both grown in the Northern Hemisphere. And we think that one of the reasons that they have in the last couple of years have had this process is just to perhaps slow down U.S. shipments initially to protect their own farmers. So we are quite confident that these are reallywe don't think that these are really deep felt convictions on the part of the Chinese and that they are going to stop trade by any means.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PETERSON. The administration has kind of adopted a wait and see attitude here, too. Do you have the same position here, that we maybe ought to be more aggressive and try to
Mr. JOACHIM. Well, I think the administration, which I didn't have time to go into that, but the Chinese have asked for some trials that are actually duplications of what has happened in the rest of the world. I really think they are unnecessary, but they are going on, and it looks like they should be completed. And I guess we think in the instance of China, we think that they have probably done a pretty good job of bringing the subject up at the highest levels so far, at least in the past.
Mr. PETERSON. So you don't think we need to be more aggressive than we have been?
Mr. JOACHIM. Well, we think we always need to beand I was going to make the point in response to the last question, that often times we are more interested in negotiating the next trade agreement than we are in enforcing the current one, and that is something that we think we really have to hold everyone's feet to the fire, farm organizations, the administration, that if nothing else, to maintain support for trade in the farm community to show that we are serious about enforcing the agreements that are currently on the books.
Mr. PETERSON. Amen. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. The gentleman from South Dakota, Mr. Janklow.
Mr. JANKLOW. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This reminds me of going to law school. They tell you that if the facts are against you, you argue the law to the jury. If the law is against you, you argue the facts to the jury. And if the facts and the law are both against you, you have to bring in a smokescreen for the jury. We waste our time talking about science. Unless someone in the world can come up with a scientific study, a peer reviewed scientific analysis, a conclusion by any scientist of any persuasion that lends creditability to the argument there is something wrong with these, we waste our time talking about it. These are political problems. Part of our problem is we sit around in America jacking our jaws about it, talking all the time, all the things we should be doing. They don't even know we are meeting, and if they did, they would turn it off. They could care less. They are not impressed with us on these kinds of issues, the Europeans aren't. It reminds you of the old adage, full of sound and fury signify nothing.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Either we are going to make a decision to enforce the laws and treaties of the United States or we are not. One of the things we are all told all the time is, in the Constitution, it says something like this constitution and laws and treaties passed hereunder shall be the supreme law of the land. That means someone has to enforce them. It does us no good to talk about it. If we are not following the existing treaties and laws, why pass more?
So I guess what I am saying is, recognizing that the Europeans have been rather successful in scaring themselves, given the fact that the information you and the other witnesses give us indicate Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Finland, so far have moved in the direction opposite of the rest of the European community, that countries that have the unbelievable starvation, hunger, deprivation, and abusive people, like we have all seen not only on just that little film this morning, but over and over and over in our lives. And yet, those governments will not accept free food for their people because they are afraid some export may not be accepted in another country. What do you suggest we really do? Is there something we can do or, I mean, we all have fun talking. Should we just continue to talk about it? Do any of you have a suggestion of what we can really do?
Mr. CORZINE. The first thing I think we should do is really push forward, as was mentioned, with the other situations in the world. But this WTO action I think is very important. I think we have caught the Europeans on this issue, are backpedaling somewhat with what has happened in Africa and trying to deny their responsibility. And I think in not only the WTO action, but in our other negotiations with them, they try to shed responsibility for their non-government organizations going ahead and doing things, and being wild out there with all these things that just aren't true, and fanning the flames of emotion. And I don't believe we should let them shed that responsibility because they help fund them.
Mr. JANKLOW. Maybe every tourist that goes to Europe ought to carry a pocketful of this stuff and just throw it around like Johnny Appleseed used to do it.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CORZINE. I do think the mood has changed somewhat in my last time there because we are having some good dialog with the French corn growers, and they want these products as well. And so I think we have to operate from within.
Mr. JANKLOW. But sir, we have been operating from within for decades, literally, a couple of decades. There is no light on the horizon, and waiting for French farmers to lead a revolution in Europe towards the advancement of the opening up of trade, I think is beyond the realm of imagination of most of us. It used to be the intervention price in wheat. It has always been something and it isn't going to change now as they continue to protect their domestic supplies of food. And so other than that, if there is anything you think we can do, tell us. Maybe we can't get it done politically between us, but on the other hand, just maybe we can. I think everybody is at wit's end, but holding hearings which the chairman has done that lay this out before the public ought to be, what is the next step.
Mr. JOACHIM. Well, this morning, Mr. Kilama and Mr. Juma, and I hope I didn't butcher their names, mentioned the need for education. I think that is part of it, but I don't know what we can do besides on the one hand educate and on the other hand proceed with all legal avenues that we have, such as the WTO. I don't think we should be scared. First there is a lot of steps that happen before you formally file the case, and so I don't think we should be scared off by the fact thatI mean, they are so mad at us now anyhow, I don't think it could be much worse over this issue.
Mr. JANKLOW. My time has expired. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman. It is a very good question and I think there are some answers. We will get to that in a moment. I have one more question and I would like to direct it to Mr. Deegan, and it is along the lines of what the gentleman from South Dakota is asking, and that is what else can we do.
It is my understanding that most private volunteer organizations have taken somewhat less of an advocacy role with regard to this issue, opting for a neutral position, and I don't understand that. Don't you think it would be in the best interest of the needy and developing countries that such organizations embrace this technology as a solution to many of the sustainable development problems that they have, the problem not just of starvation but of being able to grow their own crops in a sustainable fashion, and shouldn't you be out there advocating that in a positive light?
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DEEGAN. Mr. Chairman, you have asked one of the advocates, ACDI/VOCA, there is a lot of technology transfer and several of our programs embrace biotechnology as the key element. Just to give you a good example, in Kenya, we are running a maize program which is introducing new varieties of Bt corn into the Kenyan market. There are several of our other PVO's and NGO's that do not embrace biotechnology and a lot of it is personality driven. It is the nature of the organization that drives that neutrality so that they say we don't get into the political issues. We want to just be neutral about this.
The CHAIRMAN. But it is not a political issue if you are simply promoting good science and good technology.
Mr. DEEGAN. And I agree with you, and I think Mr. Joachim covered that in his comments. I think we have to keep the heat on. We have got to be out keeping the pressure on. We have got to increase this education, especially, in the African arena. We have got to be pushing forward. We have got to have partnerships with the companies that are developing the GMOs. That is extremely important, and we do. We have worked hand in glove with Monsanto on one of their products. They were contributors in a partnership that we took forward and we are anxious to get out there and do more of it. And I think staying the course is going to be the big issue.
We have come a long way in 6 years. You look at the number of acres or hectares that are in soybeans around the world. You look at the countries that are in the business now, where they are up from six to 16 that are participating in major GMO crop activities. It just comes back to that European influence that we run into in several of the former colonies of European countries. So I just say, let us just hang in there, because science will win this in the long run.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. If that doesn't prompt any other questions, I have a few housekeeping matters and we will conclude.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I indicated that the committee staff couldn't recall the last time a Speaker of the House of Representatives had testified before the Agriculture Committee, but in deference to our clerk, Mrs. Gingrich, I need to note that former Speaker Newt Gingrich testified before the committee in 1997. So we want to set that record straight. It has been 6 years, but we are glad to have a Speaker back.
I want to thank this panel of witnesses for their excellent contribution. I would say to the gentleman from South Dakota and others who have the same question I do, which is what do we do next. I think there are a number of things that need to be done. We do need to press forward with the WTO case. Once Europe does end this moratorium, which I am confident they will, we are going to encounter, as the witnesses testified, a greater problem with the traceability and labeling requirements. But I think we need to push forward on both fronts, both in terms of once we are able to introduce biotech products into Europe to do that, and to market them and to sell them. I think they will get growing acceptance because when you meet that labeling requirement, you are going to be able to say this is GM, and as a result, it is better because it will do this for you. The product does not have as much pesticide usage. The product has helped environmentally. The product has better taste. The product has additional vitamins. The product has all kinds of benefits that can be advertised and promoted.
Second, we need to make the point again and again that we are not trying to get anybody to eat anything that they don't want to eat. And so for whatever suspicions remain for whatever reasons, we need to make sure that we are able to introduce into Europe products that are not GM and sell that product to customers who want to have that product. And therefore, we need to push for fair requirements for the separation of that product from the GM products.
And finally, again, I want to thank Dr. Kilama and Dr. Juma, and let them know that we appreciate their efforts to continue this education process, which is vitally important. We truly are at the cutting edge of a great future for ending hunger and starvation around the world. Biotechnology clearly has to take a leading role in that, and so educating folks everywhere, not just in Africa, but in Europe, in the United States, and elsewhere around the world, about the importance of promoting science and technology and defeating ignorance is part of the future, and we thank them for their contribution.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I thank all of you for your contribution today, and without objection, the record of today's hearing will remain open for 10 days to receive additional material and supplementary written responses from witnesses to any question posed by a member of the panel. I would also like to submit two statements for the record. Statement No. 1 is a letter signed by 3,300 scientists from around the world in support of biotechnology, including, I might add, a number of European scientists. There are at least 45 different biotechnology research laboratories in Europe doing great work and are greatly frustrated. I know because I have met with some of them. They are greatly frustrated by the policy in Europe today which is hurting their good work as well. Statement No. 2 is testimony that was received by Dr. Florence Wambugu. Dr. Wambugu is the president of an organization whose goal is to promote the adoption and development of biotech crops in Africa. I appreciate her submission.
The gentleman from Michigan.
Mr. SMITH. If there is no objection, could I include in the record the summary of the three hearings that we had in Science Committee called Seeds of Opportunity?
The CHAIRMAN. Absolutely. Without objection, we will include that valuable information as well.
This hearing of the Committee on Agriculture is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:10 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
[Material submitted for inclusion in the record follows:]
Statement of John Kilama
Thank you, Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and Mr. Charles Stenholm, ranking minority member, for providing me with the opportunity to speak to you and the committee today about the challenges that face the United States, as we attempt to overcome widespread apprehension about biotechnology, and the American role in biotechnology.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As president of the Global Bioscience Development Institute, my goal is to help leaders of developing nations overcome the apprehensionsso that they acquire a sense of ownership regarding biotechnology. Only when their reluctance is overcome will it be possible for those countries to acquire biotechnology and thus allow the United States to fully develop trading relationships with themand working with the countries to exploit the vast potential of biotechnology as an engine of their economic growth.
Most of my remarks will concern how those apprehensions affect adoption of biotechnology in Africa and hinder development of trade with the United States. I will also say a few words about China and India, and my views about prospects in those countries.
No news story dramatizes the challenges confronting the biotechnology sector more dramatically than the refusal by Zambia and other southern African countries to accept American food aid processed from genetically modified crops last October. Although nearly three million Zambians are facing famine, many Zambians feared that genetically modified food aid could be used to grow new cropsand enter the local food chainwith dangerous effects. Elsewhere around southern Africa, some 14 million people are at risk of famineyet reluctance to accept any food products derived from genetically engineered crops is widespread.
I want to offer my perspective on the critical reasons for that reluctanceand how it affects the prospects for closer trade ties between the United States and Africa. My views are derived from my experience training selected leaders from 39 Sub-Saharan African countriesin the practical skills they need to acquire to develop and implement effective policy on biotechnology, biosafety and related issues.
I believe there are four major reasons why so many Africans are having difficulties in adopting biotechnology. Each reason provides a compelling perspective on the challenges that face America' trade and technology ties with Sub-Saharan Africa.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Those reasons are: Africa's close economic ties with Europe. Africa's inability to create biosafety laws and effective biotechnology policy. The capacity crisis within African government institutions. The unprecedented barrage of negative publicity from opponents of biotechnology.
The first reason concerns Africa's close trade relationship with Europe. As you know, the nations of Africa are among the more than 130 countries that have agreed to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety of 2000, known as the Biosafety Protocol. This global treaty, though not ratified yet, was conceived as a vehicle to address the potential environmental impact of the movement of living, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) across national boundaries. The goal of the Biosafety Protocol is to allow countries to assess the environmental or adverse impact of GMOs on human health.
Unfortunately, many countries have embraced the strategy of Precautionary Principle of the Biosafety Protocol in order to exclude genetically modified crops. The Precautionary Principle states that even when there is a lack of scientific certainty, countries are allowed to block the import of GMOsif they are concerned about potential environmental damage.
Articles 10.6 and 11.8 of the Protocol state that, Lack of scientific certainty due to insufficient relevant scientific information and knowledge regarding the extent of potential adverse effects of a living modified organism on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in the Party of import, taking also into account risks to human health, shall not prevent that Party from taking a decision, as appropriate, with regard to the import of the living modified organism . . . in order to avoid or minimize such potential adverse effects.
Clearly, the Precautionary Principle was intended as a tool to safeguard any potential environmental or health problems that could arise from GMOs; the Principle was not intended to be a non-tariff barrier to trade. It is clear that some countries are using the Precautionary Principle has a pretext to legitimize their refusal to accept genetically modified organisms.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To date, there is no credible scientific evidence that any foods derived from genetically modified crops have an adverse impact on human health or any environmental degradation. Despite the fact that there is abundant information about the safety of genetically modified foods, many countries in Africa continue to be reluctant to move quickly to acquire the biotechnology to support their agricultural programs.
I believe that the real reason for their reluctance to accept GMOs has more to do with Africa' fear to offend its close trading partners in Europe. Africans are concerned that Europe will retaliate against African exports if Africans accept genetically modified organisms from the United States. Southern African leaders have concerns beyond the safety of GM foods. Roughly half the region's agricultural exports are sold to the European Union, where there is loud opposition to GM foods, and where they must be labeled as such. African farmers are concerned that if they are no longer able to certify that their foods are GM-free, they will lose their share in the European market.
These European markets are an important source of income for southern Africa's cash-starved economies. From 1999 through 2000, for example, Zambia exported more than 8,400 tons of produce to Europe, earning U.S. $62.6 million. Between 1993 and 1997, Zimbabwe's export of peas to the European Union grew by 53 percent, so that Zimbabwean products now account for 12 percent of all peas and beans consumed on European tables.
''Our decision to reject some of these foods is out of fear...we have been told that we will lose our European market if we start growing GM foods,'' Zambian Vice President Enoch Kavindele has explained to U.N. aid workers. ''Hungry we may be, but GM foods pose a serious threat to our agriculture sector...and [could] grind it to a halt.''
Another example is Botswana. Although Botswana exports beef to Europe, Botswana is somewhat reluctant to move forward in accepting biotechnology out of concern that the European Union will retaliate.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Clearly, as a result of Europe's historic role as a colonizer of Africa, Europe's influence in Africa is far greater than that of the United States. Decades after the demise of colonialism, African exporters of agricultural commodities are far more dependent on European markets than American markets.
Why is Europe so opposed to genetically modified organisms? Others may have a better perspective on the full range of factors. However, in my view, Europeans may be trying to buy time until they are in a position to compete effectively with the US. The Precautionary Principle of the Biosafety Protocol serves as a convenient tactical device for Europeansbecause the Principle permits countries to reject foreign GMOs even when there is no scientific proof that they are harmful.
A SHORTAGE OF STRATEGIC POLICYMAKING
A second set of reasons for Africa's reluctance to accept biotechnology involves the inability of African governments to develop a coherent strategic policy for enacting and implementing biosafety laws. Not a single country in sub-Saharan Africa has enacted any laws for enforcing biosafety regulations. This lack of regulatory implementation means that:
Companies that want to import and sell GM seed will not be able to do it;
Applications to field test transgenic materials developed locally or from international sources are not possible;
Approval for importation of GMOs as commodities, or for research and testing purposes, are delayed;
There is no mechanism to process requests for authorization to produce or grow GMOs on a large scale for commercial purposes, and
In some cases, even the movement of GMOs between facilities within a country is restricted.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC At first glance, it is hard to understand why no biosafety laws have emerged in Africa, despite considerable international effort to pave the way for biotechnology development in Africa. There have been countless educational seminars, training courses and consultations to increase awareness of the African people about the potential benefits, as well as environmental and food safety concerns associated with biotechnology. Only Kenya, and Egypt have workable drafts of biosafety laws. Nigeria has a draft that has yet to be tested to see if it is workable. But those countries are by far the exception to the general rule.
Why are these efforts so disappointing? In the absence of any coherent national strategy, many of these international efforts to help develop biosafety laws do not address the specific needs of the country. Moreover, many of these efforts have not been aimed at those personnel in the ministries responsible for developing biosafety law. Instead, they are directed more toward institutions that don't have power to do that, such as various local non-governmental institutions.
Why aren't African governments acting decisively to create biosafety laws? In my discussions with many African leaders, I have identified two key factors causing the indecisivenessa lack of skills in policymaking and a lack of ''appropriate human capacity.''
THE CAPACITY CRISIS WITHIN AFRICAN GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS
Most officials in ministries responsible for enacting biosafety laws lack the policymaking skills required for drafting coherent, consistent and effective legislation, and pushing those drafts through their legislative branches.
Second, some African officials have not been enthusiastic about enacting biosafety laws because they feel that they don't have enough money or ''capacity'' to implement biosafety laws effectively. Why bother drawing up biosafety laws that you know you can't really enforce?
Untargeted international assistance
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCOver the years, developmental assistance provided by international donors has become more directed towards local communitiesand less toward nurturing the growth of leadership in African government ministries. Most assistance is not clearly coordinated to target the specific needs of the countries that receive it. The result has been a significant shortage of people in government who have the skills to develop strategy and policyand push biosafety laws through their legislatures.
It is important to note that, major donors have been shifting their approach toward working directly with local communities, rather than work with government agencies. While there is nothing wrong with working directly with local communities, I feel strongly that this approach should not come at the expense of neglecting key government institutions. No matter how corrupt and mismanaged government agencies may be, we must figure out ways to train government officials in the key leadership skills of policymaking and implementation. The shortage of skilled leaders is hardly helped by the fact that so many skilled Africans who are potential leaders are opting to settle in Europe, the United States, or elsewhere in the developed world.
Rather than despair about the lack of leadership, we have to focus on the positive examples that history provides. During the 1960's, when African nations were becoming independent from Europe, the world community made a concerted effort to support the development of leadership skills among young educated Africans. It is no accident that Kofi Annan, now the secretary-general of the United Nations, is a member of that generation of highly skilled, professional leaders.
Few people now remember that, during the 1960's, the per capita income of Ghana, Secretary General Annan's country of birth, exceeded the per capita income of countries like Malaysia and South Korea. Since then, African income levels have fallen far behind those of Asia, and the gap in leadership skills provides a key reason for that income gap. The rapid development of Malaysia and South Korea stems, in good measure, from those countries' focus on developing practical skills for formulating and implementing coherent, consistent public policy.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Despite the brain drain, I do not believe that Africa's core problem stems from a shortage of knowledge about biosafety or biotechnologyand related issues. There is still adequate knowledge about biotechnology, especially in some Africa's universities. The main problem is a lack of skills among knowledgeable people responsible for sharing that knowledge with political leadership. There is a widespread failure to leverage knowledge into comprehensive, consistent skills for policymaking and implementation.
For inspiration in Africa, I suggest we study the recent history of Botswanathe southern African nation that now has the highest per-capita foreign-exchange reserves in the world. The secret to Botswana's economic growth isn't the country's great mineral wealth. After all, many African countries have enormous mineral wealth. The key to Botswana's success is that Botswana has successfully nurtured the policymaking and implementation skills of a broad range of leaders in both the public- and private sector.
As President Festus G. Mogae recalled in a recent interview, ''When we became independent, we were one of the poorest countries in the world.'' Later, after diamonds were discovered, Botswana engaged a full range of stakeholders in public policymaking and implementation. ''We made sure, we put [mineral revenues] to good use,'' rather than squander them ''on prestige projects.'' As President Mogae added, ''our national motto is ''consultation.'' And through consultations we have been able to build national consensus.'' These consultations helped ''[us] apply aid where it best worked''. We tried to learn as much as possible, keeping our limitations in mind''. We did not impose or try to impose anything on anyone. Instead, we worked through consultation and persuasion. And those who did not agree with the ruling party were free to express their views.''
In short, Botswana's policymaking and implementation are successful because stakeholders have a sense of ''ownership'' and participation. Botswana controls its development in a selective way that meets its needs.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Poorly Defined Partnerships. In contrast, during our training sessions at GBDI, participants in most countries have voiced concerns that international efforts do not get Africans involved from the very beginning in projects that are supposedly designed to help Africans. Most donors come to Africa with their plans already in placeand just want Africans to join in.
A lack of ''appropriate human capacity.'' My personal experience on this issue is that some of the Africans who usually end up working in international donor projects are interested mostly in a different opportunity than the opportunity to make a difference in their country's development. Consequently, many of the efforts have bypassed the right personnel needed to get the required skills for helping ministries. These problems are widespread and I think most donors are aware of them.
Negative Publicity from Extremist Groups. Finally, another set of factors helps to explain Africa's reluctancethe barrage of negative publicity from extremist groups have attempted to portray GMOs as dangerouseven deadly. These groups have labeled GMOs and the products made from them as the seeds of inequity and ruin. Because of inadequate counterbalance to these extreme groups, it is not surprising that some African governments are swayed by absurd rumors about people who have died from exposure to GMOs. It makes no impact on such leaders to point out that there is no documentary evidence for these assertions.
THE ROLE OF GBDI
Since 1999, when we launched the Global Bioscience Development Institute, I have been able to see first-hand how all these barriers play out, as we provided the practical training leaders need for developing skills in policymaking and capacity building.
Leaders from the following countries have participated in our training: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Niger, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leon, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Time and again, as these sessions have begun, I have seen and heard skepticism and apprehension about biotechnology in the faces and voices of those leaders. But, as each training session unfolds, I have also watched the skepticism fade away. Invariably, each time we bring key leaders up to speed about these issues, I have seen optimism replace pessimism.
I have learned that when African leaders develop a sense of ''ownership'' regarding biotechnology, hope replaces despair and apprehension. When African leaders realize that biotechnology isn't something that makes sense only for rich countries, they take an active interest in formulating coherent, sensible policy. And when everyone responsible for biosafety is involved in the policymaking processin an open exchange of viewsthe result is a strong consensus or ''buy-in'' from the community. No community can distrust a technology that it controls in order to meet its own needs.
It's important, to repeat, that many ministries need to be involved, and not just one ministry or one set of leaders. Too often, issues of biotechnology and biosafety development have been left only to the ministry of the environment. Or the perception has been that the private sector has been foisting biotechnology on the local community. At GBDI, our approach is to involve not just the public and private sectors, but every ministry touching on biosafety. This includes the ministries of Environment, Trade, Agriculture, Health, Culture, Justice and Science and Technology. For example, in Nigeria, GBDI's training sessions in Nigeria inspired the Federal Government to bring biotech into the forefront of Nigeria's economic development plan.
Based on my experience, here are my recommendations for overcoming apprehension and lack of understanding among African's leadership:
First, regarding trade between Africa and the United States: There is an urgent need to open American markets to African imports, so that we can reduce Africa's dependence on European markets.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Second, on developing policy and capacity building: Foreign assistance to Africa should be carefully thought out so that it focuses on producing long-term benefits, not short-term emotional satisfaction. Our efforts should involve a concentrated focus on developing key skills that African leaders so urgently need for making coherent strategic plans, and building ''capacity'' for implementing them effectively.
Developing these skills will not only overcome apprehensions and misunderstandings about biotechnology, it will enable African leaders to develop strategic plans that address their own unique needs, not those of the United States or international donors or multinational manufacturers. Instead of merely reacting passively to the proposals and projects developed by donors and other outside institutions, African leaders will set their own pro-active agenda and plans that focus on their own needs, not the agendas of outside institutions.
We need to get every sort of leader involvedfrom the public and private sectors; from local communities to every key ministrieslike Trade, Agriculture, Health, Culture, Justice and Science and Technology. Otherwise, we risk an incomplete consensusand resentment among at least some stakeholders.
In Kenya, a partnership between the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Monsanto Corp., and USAID has produced homegrown, genetically modified variety of potatoesthat is now undergoing field trials. In Egypt, a similar partnership between USAID, Monsanto and AGERI (Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute (AGERI), part of the Agricultural Research Center (ARC) of the Ministry of Agriculture & Land of Egypt) has produced homegrown GMOs now undergoing trials.
Even if we overcome much of the distrust and apprehension, our projects won't bear fruit if the wrong people are involvedfor the wrong reasons. So we need to give African governments incentives to get the right kinds of their own people involved in their projects.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We need to engage central governments and give them and the private sector a much more essential role, not only in formulating policy but implementing it. We also need to let them share in the rewards for their effective participation. Countries must be required to put on the table a certain percentage of the cost of a project. They should also be held responsible for meeting interim and final goals, as would leadership in the private sector.
In return for sharing these risks, local governments will reap huge benefits. They will have a more active role shaping and implementing the policyand a strong sense of ''ownership'' that makes public support and effective implementation that much easier.
CHINA AND INDIA
Now, allow me to say a few words about my experience with China and India. As a result of my travel and participation in various biotechnology programs in China and India, I have concluded that both China and India have fully embraced the technology. They see it as the wave of the future. This situation contrasts, of course, with the reluctance and anxiety common in Africa.
In India, for example, a massive initiative from business leaders active in biotechnology persuaded the Indian government to give approval for Bt cotton development. That decision is proving to be very wise because many farmers are already benefiting from Bt cottonseeds. When I was in Bangalore, Karnataka State, to speak at the Bangalore Biotechnology 2002 conference, I discovered that biotech growth is creating a strong infrastructure for economic development in Bangalore area. It seems the biotechnology development witnessed in Karnataka state is being duplicated in many other parts of India.
In China, we are all aware that biotechnology is well accepted by government institutions and the private sector. A recent move by the central government to restrict trade in biotechnology probably has more to do with buying time to catch up and allow their local biotech sector develop without having to compete. However, there are many people who are probably much better qualified than I am to talk about that issue.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Both in India and China, we at GBDI have plans to engage leadership in training programs that provide them with a better understanding of the potential of biotechnology, and strategies for implementing policy effectively.
This July, GBDI, along with the government of Anhui Province in China, will conduct a three-week training program to help Chinese managers and officials develop realistic and sophisticated strategies for expanding sales of natural products, using biotechnology. We expect these sessions to help Chinese leaders expand their business not only throughout China but also with trading partners around the world, including the United States. The training will also offer an opportunity for Chinese managers to link up directly with potential partners, affiliates and customers around the world.
In India, we are planning a similar program in partnership with the Department of Biotechnology, in the Ministry of Science and Technology of India. In the future, I would be happy to report to you on the results of our efforts.
Summing up, permit me to review a few important themes:
First, I feel strongly that biotechnology can have a bright future in Africa. How bright that future becomes will depend on how effectively leadership in Africa acquires the skills it needs to write effective, coherent policyand build support for it among all stakeholders.
Africa will realize its great promise in biotechnology only if all stakeholders take an active role in formulating and implementing policy. Moreover, Africa will have to become a full partner with international donors. Only then will anticipation replace reluctanceand a sense of ''ownership'' replace alienation.
Finally, prospects for expanding trade ties between the United States and Africa in GMOs and other products of biotechnology are also bright, if we take a patient, long-term approach to building appropriate skills. When Africa acquires the skills it needs to create and implement biosafety strategy, Africa will be drawn inevitably into closer trading relationships with the United States.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Developing the rights skills in the right people may be a slow process, but it is a process that will have self-sustaining resultsmuch like well-balanced, sustainable economic growth. There are no easy short cuts, or quick fixes.
In short, the United States and Africa share a common interest in the long-term development of biotechnology, and we will share equally in its progress if we work together to focus on our common strategic goals.
Statement of Michael W. Deegan
Mr. Chairman, thank you for inviting me to testify on the important subject of how
genetically modified organisms impact the implementation of U.S. food aid programs. As a private voluntary organization (PVO) implementing programs on behalf of both USAID and USDA, ACDI/VOCA finds that controversy over this issue has become a significant impediment to food security in low-income food-deficit countries.
Two years ago, my organization surveyed U.S. Government officials, international organizations, private sector representatives and other PVOs to determine whether GMO issues played a significant role in food aid program implementation. As of a year ago, when we last updated the survey, we concluded that the issue did not pose a significant problem despite a number of instances where concerns about GMOs had been raised.
As we now prepare a second update of the paper, it is clear that GMO issues have become much more prominent. This can be attributed to a variety of factors:
Continuing efforts of advocacy groups to curtail GMO use, most prominently in Europe;
Increased media attention to the issue;
Continuing resistance from the European Union to importation of new GMO commodities; and
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Increased desire on the part of developing country governments to play a regulatory role.
In 2002, United States food aid shipments reached nearly 4.7 million tons. Of that total, approximately 1.5 million tons were corn, soybeans and related products. That is to say that roughly 35% of U.S. food aid could be considered as having varying degrees of GM content.
The Ramifications of the GMO
Food-insecure people pay the immediate price, in the form of hunger, when U.S. food aid commodities are held up or denied because of GMO issues. But there are several secondary implications as well:
Operating costs for the PVOs increase as a result of the extra time expended on such issues;
More expensive commodities often have to be substituted to make up the caloric deficit;
The potential for a commercial market for U.S. commodities to eventually emerge is lessened due to the tainting of the commodity's image;
Similarly, the potential for domestic food productivity increases through GMO solutions is reduced; and
PVOs may incur significant financial risk if they hold title to commodity that has been held up late in the process.
THE INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
The FAO works with the World Health Organization (WHO) to serve as the secretariat to the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Established in 1962, the Commission operates as a consortium of countries working towards international standards on food safety and acceptability. In 1999 the Commission established an ad hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnologies in which government-designated experts were assigned to develop standards, guidelines and/or recommendations for foods derived from biotechnological methods. The Task Force aims to have its recommended standards on GM foods ready for the Commission's approval sometime this year. However, these standards will not be legally binding. Member governments will continue to have the voluntary responsibility to formulate policies towards these technologies. Currently no international consensus on such food standards exists.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC FAO, WFP and WHO issued a joint statement in August 2002 relating to the humanitarian crisis in southern Africa. In it they indicated that the United Nations agencies involved will seek to establish a long-term policy for food aid involving GM foods or foods derived from biotechnology. The statement held that the ultimate responsibility for the acceptance and distribution of food aid containing GMOs rests with the governments concerned, considering all the factors outlined above. The United Nations believes that in the current crisis governments in southern Africa must consider carefully the severe and immediate consequences of limiting the food aid available for millions so desperately in need.
THE U.S. GOVERNMENT POSITION
USDA officials contend that food safety concerns are the same for both traditional and biotech food products. They argue that all biotech developments undergo a rigorous evaluative process
and are approved for commercialization based on U.S. laws and regulations which have as their primary goals the health and safety of humans, plants, animals and the environment. Once a plant variety successfully passes U.S. regulatory review, it can be used like any other variety. Foods exported commercially or as food aid by the United States are the same foods as those consumed by Americans every day.
U.S. Government officials do not believe that the U.S. food production and distribution system can reliably separate genetically modified foodstuffs from their non-biotech counterparts. If another country were to demand non-food aid commodities from the United States, our government would respond that any corn or soybean shipment is likely to contain GMOs, that these products have gone through the U.S. regulatory process, and that they are the same foods bought and consumed in the United States.
The U.S. Government has launched biotech education programs in food aid recipient countries in an effort to clarify the U.S. regulatory process for biotech products, to address host country concerns, to correct any misperceptions concerning the health and environmental
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCimplications of biotech products and to facilitate the development of foreign markets for all U.S. agricultural products.
The Congress, for its part, included a provision in the current farm bill, Section 1543A, authorizing the use of Federal funds by USDA to establish a biotechnology and agricultural trade program. The purpose of the program is ''to remove, resolve, or mitigate significant regulatory non-tariff barriers to the export of United States agricultural commodities.''
Instances of GMO food aid controversy are rapidly accumulating. At a minimum these have generated considerable extra workload for PVOs in implementing programs and have resulted in operational delays. In some cases they have prevented the utilization of the preferred commodity.
ACDI/VOCA in Uganda
For example, in 2001, ACDI/VOCA initiated a direct distribution program to provide Corn Soy Blend (CSB) rations to 60,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda. In early September of that year, American Soybean Association (ASA) soy flour arrived at Entebbe airport and was confiscated by Ugandan customs officials. The Ugandan Government cited concerns that the shipments contained genetically modified (GMO) soy products. During the same period, ACDI/VOCA's P.L. 480 Title II program shipment of CSB arrived in Kampala and was also seized by customs officials citing the same concerns of GMO content. In addition, the packaging did not meet Uganda's National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) labeling requirements for imported pre-packaged foods.
The Ugandan Government requested ACDI/VOCA to provide USG information on GMOs and provide additional commodity information to fulfill its labeling requirements. After the review of the documents provided by USDA, the North American Millers' Association, and the American Soybean Association, as well as testing of the CSB by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology, the 1500 metric tons (MT) of the impounded commodity (CSB) were released on the condition that all future consignments conform to relevant labeling standards and regulations. ACDI/VOCA and the U.S. Government are now working together to ensure that the Ugandan Government's regulations pertaining to the labeling of imported agricultural products are met on all future consignments.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As of the end of 2001, the Government of Uganda drafted a new biosafety policy and new legislation on biotechnology that proposes strict control of genetic engineering procedures and genetically modified organisms. The drafts have been released to the public for discussions before being submitted to the parliament later in 2003. The proposed policy and legislation both caution that ''an appropriate balance should be maintained between biotechnology promotion and regulation.''
SOUTHERN AFRICA EMERGENCY RELIEF
Drought in southern Africa has left over 14 million people on the verge of starvation. The looming famine is complicated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the collapse of the agricultural infrastructure necessary for the delivery of adequate food supplies and other related services to the region.
In 2002, the U.S. Government facilitated the shipment of food aid to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland, Mozambique, and Lesotho through the World Food Program and PVOs. The delivery of aid faced strong opposition, especially in Zambia and Zimbabwe, because some of the commodities earmarked for food aid have been genetically modified. These governments feared that GMOs, especially corn, through cross-pollination with locally grown crops, could endanger the future of commodity exports to the European market where GMO corn is banned. Specific country information is provided below.
With an HIV/AIDS pandemic and recent severe drought conditions, Zambia faces one of the greatest threats of famine, and has also been at the center of the intense debate over GMOs. In August 2002, the government banned the importation and distribution of all genetically modified foods, including corn, being offered as food aid from the United States. The refusal of the food aid was based on concerns about public health, biosafety and foreign export income. In late October, Zambia received a report from its scientists who had traveled to the United States, Europe, India and South Africa to study the safety of genetically modified food and its approval process. The report, submitted by Dr. Mwananyanda Mbikusita-Lwewanyika, a biochemist from the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research, recommended keeping the ban in place.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The ban has inhibited relief efforts in Zambia and will continue to be a major hurdle in staving off starvation of over 2.9 million Zambians who need 21,000 MT of food aid a month. The distribution of 40,000 MT of corn has already been blocked by the government for fear that farmers would plant the seeds and pollinate organically-grown local corn with unwanted genetic material. In November, the first of 18,000 MT of food aid was loaded into trucks under police guard destined for Malawi. Due to these restrictions, by the end of 2002, food aid distribution was facing massive shortfalls. In early January 2003, the Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Abel Chambeshi, announced the completion of GMO guidelines which have been submitted to the cabinet for review before being submitted to the parliament. No details of the guidelines have been made public.
As the debate raged in southern Africa, Zimbabwe, the former breadbasket of the region, faced drought and a collapse of the agricultural infrastructure. With half of its 12 1/2 million people facing starvation, the Government of Zimbabwe relaxed its previous hardline stance against GMOs and allowed the introduction of milled corn from the United States. Milled corn helped alleviate starvation without endangering the organically-grown local corn crop, thus safeguarding Zimbabwe's potential for export to the European market. Concurrently, the Government of Zimbabwe is working to develop a biosafety screening system for GM crops for human and farm animal consumption.
ADRA in Bolivia
In 2001, ADRA had problems with food aid it was trying to monetize in Bolivia. According to ADRA, the Bolivian Government banned all food aid and food imports from the United States during March and April 2001 due to concerns about the safety of GM foods. ADRA, CARE, and Food for the Hungry International were all impacted significantly by Bolivia's ban on U.S. food aid. During the ban, ADRA's last commodity shipment of wheat flour was in port in Matarani, Peru, ready for monetization in Bolivia. ADRA was forced to store the flour in warehouses for seven weeks. To resolve the issue, ADRA's Bolivian field officers reminded Bolivian officials of the country's pressing need for food aid and suggested that the government's first priority was meeting its population's food demands. The government eventually lifted the ban.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCARE IN INDIA
In October 1999, CARE-USA conducted an emergency food aid relief program in Orissa, India, where a cyclone had struck. CARE's emergency food assistance, which included corn-soy blend containing GMOs, triggered a media outcry driven by anti-GMO activists. It was claimed that the United States had dumped GM commodities on developing countries in the form of food aid because the European and Japanese markets would not buy them. Greenpeace claimed it was illegal to bring GM CSB into India and charged CARE with distributing tainted food to relief recipients.
CARE responded to the concerns by obtaining a document from USDA noting that all U.S. corn and soybeans are likely to contain GMOs, and that the foods were safe and were widely consumed in the United States and Europe. The Government of India (GOI) appeared to accept this reassurance and thanked CARE for its emergency relief efforts. The GOI indicated its appreciation of and support for U.S. food aid programs. However, the net effect of the CSB import ban was to reduce the CARE program by approximately two-thirds.
The GOI has recently reaffirmed its position not to allow CSB into the country until specific issues are addressed, including the need for the USG to provide certifications for each shipment of CSB that no Starlink corn is included. CARE India has said they will not spend more time on this issue. Even if the USG and GOI reach some agreement (which CARE does not believe to be likely for a long time, if at all) and CSB can come in, CARE India will not request the reimportation of the commodity.
CARE at this time, will continue to program CSB in countries where local governments permit it, but will also respect the decisions of governments that may choose to prohibit it.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ACDI/VOCA has taken the position with respect to U.S. food aid programs and biotechnology that:
Programs are acceptable that utilize genetically modified commodities provided that the commodities have been demonstrated to be safe through an independent, transparent and scientifically-based approval system.
Restricting genetically modified commodities and products from food aid programs would be extremely detrimental to addressing immediate food needs around the world.
It is the responsibility of the U.S. Government to address issues raised by recipient governments as to the acceptability of genetically modified food aid commodities. ACDI/VOCA can play a facilitating role in communicating the recipient government's concern and providing supporting documentation.
Most PVOs have taken somewhat less of an advocacy role with respect to this issue, opting for a neutral position. Most PVOs continue to express a desire for more knowledge on the safety of GMOs before reaching definitive conclusions.
THE U.S. GOVERNMENT/PVO INTERFACE
Last September key USAID/Agriculture and USDA/FAS biotech staff met with members of the Coalition on Food Aid to discuss food aid biotech issues. PVOs indicated that some form of certification from the USG is needed that could be used by PVOs for commodities with GMO content. USAID and USDA representatives responded that, although a specific certificate
may not be feasible, they agreed that PVOs should not have the burden of gathering all the information and trying to make the case to foreign countries. It was observed that this could unintentionally set inappropriate precedents for what types of information a foreign
government will expect related to GMO commodities.
It was agreed at the meeting that USDA and USAID will work with PVOs to:
identify a systematic approach for providing information to foreign countries about food aid from GMO commodities; help PVOs better understand the bilateral and multilateral agreements and negotiations related to biological and health safety; and help PVOs understand what the USG can do, and is doing, to help developing countries that are reviewing GMO commodities or are attempting to set up systems to review such products.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As a first step, the USG representatives agreed to contact the cognizant USDA and USAID biotech staff and designated FAS/Export Credits and FFP officers who handle these issues to set a ''strategy'' meeting where a smaller group of PVOs, USDA, USAID, and perhaps USTR and agricultural groups can discuss the scope of work for these efforts.
Unfortunately, there is little information available on what steps have been taken, if any, to pursue the agreed upon agenda.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE THE SITUATION?
If optimal use is to be made of U.S. food aid in promoting food security around the world, greater effort needs to be made to minimize the kinds of problems that have occurred in places like Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Bolivia and India. To do so, the following actions are recommended:
The administration should accelerate its implementation of the points agreed to in consultation with PVOs last fall;
USDA should develop and publicize its plan for implementing section 1543A of the farm bill.
Statement of Leon Corzine
Good morning. Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Stenholm and members of the Committee, my name is Leon Corzine and I am a fifth generation farmer from Assumption, Illinois. I am a board member of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and Chairman of the NCGA's Biotechnology Working Group. I would like to thank the Subcommittee for giving me the opportunity to testify and speak today regarding artificial barriers to trade and food aid in agricultural products produced through biotechnology. Today's hearing is very timely and I commend the chairman and the Committee for convening today's hearing.
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is an organization founded in 1957 and represents more than 32,000 dues-paying corn growers from 48 states. The Association also represents the interests of more than 300,000 farmers who contribute to corn checkoff programs in 19 States.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The National Corn Growers Association's mission is to create and increase opportunities for corn growers in a changing world and to enhance corn's profitability and usage across this country. Biotechnology and trade remain vital to the future of corn growers as we search for new markets and provide grain that is more abundant and of better quality.
Biotechnology offers corn growers improved efficiencies and potential profits when managed wisely and with regulatory oversight based on sound science. The introduction of new varieties and its proliferation across the corn-belt is redefining current systems of price discovery, consumer information, health regulation and trade management.
The NCGA believes consumer acceptance and confidence in our regulatory agencies is vital to the success of this technology. As producers, corn growers have to be mindful of our customers and ensure there is open communication with grain handlers, millers, processors and food retailers across the country. Our association works closely with our partners in the food chain continuing an open dialogue to head off any problem before it occurs. We also believe consumer acceptance of biotechnology will increase with the dissemination of science-based information. Responsible and accountable management by biotechnology providers, producers, suppliers, and grain merchandisers is imperative. Copies of NCGA's policies regarding biotechnology are attached.
As you know, corn is the largest crop in the United States, with over 79 million acres planted last year, producing 9 billion bushels of grain. Corn acreage is likely to increase this year with over one third devoted to varieties derived from biotechnology. While corn producers across the country already understand the benefits of biotechnology, farmers around the globe are beginning to realize the true potential of this exciting technology.
According to a new report from the non-profit International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), the amount of land planted worldwide with biotech crops increased by 12 percent in 2002. This is the sixth straight year that global farmers have adopted biotech crops at a double-digit pace. While the majority of the global area planted to biotech crops is in the United States, accounting for 66 percent of global plantings, the adoption of biotech crops in 2002 was more than twice as fast in developing countries as it was in developed countries.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In the United States, consumer support for food biotechnology remains high. According to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) nearly three quarters (71 percent) of the U.S. population said they would be likely to buy produce that had been enhanced through biotechnology to be protected from insect damage and require fewer pesticide applications. In contrast, a majority of Europeans do not support GM foods while support for GM crops is lukewarm. Foods and to a lesser extent crops, are judged not to be useful and to be risky for society. Overall support for GM foods is seen in only four countriesSpain, Portugal, Ireland and Finland.
Corn growers and farmers across the country are facing various challenges in the international marketplace and the progress resulting from biotechnology is complicating the international grain trade. I can personally attest to the importance of this issue. The region I farm is impacted significantly by trade barriers and the use of new technology is restricted since Illinois exports a significant share of its corn crop.
International acceptance to biotechnology is the largest challenge facing corn growers. One out of every five rows of U.S. corn is exported, and exports of value-added corn and co-products like corn gluten add to the importance of foreign markets for U.S. corn producers. Last year we exported over $4 1/2 billion of corn, and over a billion dollars of value-added processed corn products. This pressure will increase with the release of two new events this year.
The slow acceptance of biotechnology in the international marketplace also threatens to disrupt traditional trade relationships. In the world market, two out of every three bushels of corn originate in the United States and we account for more than 40 percent of the total production worldwide. Despite international opposition, biotech corn is present everywhere and with additional biotech acres planted annually, requirements like labeling and segregation will be difficult and costly. For example, on my farm we identity preserve using global positioning and on farm storage to grow specialty crops.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Global Outlook
Much has changed in the world market for corn in the seven years since the introduction of biotech corn. The quantity of U.S. corn exports has declined from 52.3 million tons to 47.3 million tons and their value has dropped from $8.5 billion to $4.9 billion. Numerous factors have influenced these trade patterns. The short crops and high prices of the mid 1990's boosted the value of corn exports well above traditional levels. The decline of the Former Soviet Union as a corn market and the rise of Mexico to our second largest market shifted trade patterns. The attached graph shows the relative changes in regional markets for corn over the past decade.
To date, trade problems with biotechnology have had moderate influence on the overall U.S. export situation for corn. However, in some important markets the influence has been dramatic, and we anticipate that the next few years may bring increasing pressures on U.S. corn exports as more countries introduce biotechnology labeling and approval systems and move to implement the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (BSP). I would like to spend a few minutes bringing you up to date on current and future biotechnology issues that may affect our major corn markets.
Asia, led by Japan, remains our number one regional market for U.S. corn. Exports to the area have remained at about $2.2 billion over the past decade. However, there have been some important shifts in the distribution of the market, some attributable to difficulties with biotechnology regulation.
Japan is the largest customer of U.S. corn and has adopted a pragmatic approach to biotechnology. While they have instituted a program of biotechnology labeling, they have limited it to a small segment of foods and have included reasonable commercial tolerances. Japan's safety assessment system has operated in a transparent and reasonably predictable manner. Our major issue with Japan was the inadvertent co-mingling of StarLink corn not approved for use in Japan in U.S. commodity shipments in 2000. This caused a sharp drop in the Japanese market. While that market returned to previous levels, the discovery of StarLink in a U.S. corn shipment last December has renewed the concern of Japanese corn buyers. Japan has a strong preference for the U.S. over other suppliers for quality and reliability reasons. The feed corn market in Japan remains firmly committed to U.S. supplies, but food corn buyers could again change suppliers if there are further findings of StarLink corn in U.S. food corn shipments.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One issue on the horizon in Japan is their introduction of a new 1 percent tolerance for unapproved varieties in corn destined for animal feed. Since Japan has usually approved all the commercial varieties planted in the United States this may not be much of an issue in the commercial market, but it could be a concern if there is any change in the timeliness of their approval system.
Our second major market in Asia, Taiwan, has generally followed the Japanese model of regulation. While exports to Taiwan are off about 20 percent over the past decade, it is difficult to separate any market effect of biotechnology from the availability of subsidized corn from China in the region.
A decade ago Korea was a major U.S. corn market. However, our market in Korea dropped from nearly $300 million in 2001 to $85 million in 2002, coincident with the introduction of strict biotechnology labeling regulations in Korea in 2001. Korea's labeling regulations apply both to unprocessed and processed foods. While on the surface they appear similar to the regulations in Japan, including thresholds and provisions that exempt foods from labeling if there is no analytical evidence of the use of biotechnology, Korean authorities have enforced these regulations in a manner that has caused buyers to seek other suppliers and has interrupted the commodity trade and the processed food trade as well.
The big question on biotechnology in Asia is China. We have other, more pressing, issues with the corn trade with China at the moment, specifically their failure to implement tariff-rate quotas for import of corn in a commercially viable manner and continued use of export subsidies. However, when these problems are resolved, China holds long-term promise as a market for U.S. corn.
Despite this, trade disruptions experienced in the soybean market could easily occur with corn as well. China's system of biotechnology approval requires layer after layer of redundant and unnecessary data submission and field testing within China. We do not dispute China's right to operate a robust regulatory system. However, the manner in which their requirements have been implemented is anything but transparent, and changes from day to day. In addition, as many as five different Chinese ministries are regulating biotechnology, and often their statements and requirements are in conflict with one another and leave traders entirely in the dark about the procedures they must follow.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCNORTH AMERICA
The big success story for U.S. corn exports over the past decade has been the emergence of Mexico as our second largest market since adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexico has grown from a $100 million market in 1992 to a $600 million market today. While we have not experienced trade difficulties with Mexico due to of biotechnology, we should recognize Mexico is sensitive to potential environmental issues because of its position as a center of origin for corn. The Mexican government has recently announced a new program for safety and environmental evaluation of biotechnology products and we need to be sure this process is grounded in science and follows internationally accepted norms. In addition, some elements in Mexico have attempted to use the issue of biotechnology as part of a much larger movement to retreat from the trade commitments of the NAFTA . The United States should be firm in its stance and insist technical issues not be commingled with economic issues.
AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST
Africa and the Middle East have also been growth areas for U.S. corn over the past decade, with exports generally doubling in volume and value. The primary market influenced by biotechnology is in the Persian Gulf States where there is concern that biotechnology could permit introduction of swine genes into food products. While our whole corn exports to this region continue to grow, exports of corn oil to the Middle East have declined $80 million since the introduction of biotechnology, largely driven by policies in Saudi Arabia. They and other Gulf nations have introduced labeling regulations that are causing difficulties for our food processing customers, and there are unconfirmed reports of a possible Saudi ban on imports of meat and poultry products fed genetically modified grains that could affect raw grain exports.
Sub-Saharan Africa is not a major area of commercial corn sales, but we are concerned about the recent controversy in the region concerning the acceptability of U.S. corn in development and emergency food relief programs. There has been a concerted campaign by some international non-governmental organizations based in Europe to convince hungry African countries that food that has been safely grown and consumed for years in the United States is unsafe, and if they permit their citizens to consume this food aid they will somehow loose export markets to Europe. Several hundred thousand tons of processed U.S. corn products and about four hundred thousand tons of corn go to these programs each year. While we are concerned about the potential disruption in this outlet for U.S. corn, we are more concerned at the prospect for scare mongering about the safety of U.S. corn affecting the livelihood of citizens in the region.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSOUTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
Governments across the Americas are generally receptive to the new technologies being adopted by U.S. farmers, with the major exception of Brazil. Farmers in Argentina are second only to those in the United States in their use of biotechnology varieties in both corn and soybeans. As our colleague from the American Soybean Association (ASA) will note, the legal situation in Brazil regarding approval of biotechnology crops has created much difficulty with widespread plantings of soy varieties that have not been approved within that country. Our larger concern in the South American region is whether countries in this region will implement the Biosafety Protocol in a way that does not disrupt trade.
Europe is the clear exception in the corn trade situation. The corn trade with Europe, worth over $300 million per year in the mid1990's, has disappeared since 1998 due to the EU's inability to operate its own regulatory process. And, regulations soon to be adopted in Europe could continue this situation for many years. Even with resumption of a predictable approval system in Europe, pending regulations on labeling of foods derived from biotechnology and on product tracing, will likely make it extremely difficult for European food companies to use either U.S. corn or many of the food products made from corn. While we have lost the whole corn market in Europe, we continue to ship over half a billion dollars of corn oil and processed corn feed to Europe. Depending on how the new regulations are implemented this market could be at risk as well.
A decade ago the former Soviet Union (FSU) was a major outlet for U.S. corn, but economic circumstances have caused that market to nearly disappear. However, should the FSU re-emerge as a market for U.S. grain, pending regulations there could prove difficult as well. As with China, Russia is in the process of implementing new approval and labeling regulations. The regulations are under constant revision and re-interpretation, and grain exporters are uncertain regarding future requirements.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCINTERNATIONAL REGULATION
What is clear from this review of world regulation of biotechnology and the corn trade is that there is little consistency from region to region or from country to country in how our products are treated in the world market. More than anything, we need to find some way to achieve international harmonization, or at a minimum mutual recognition, of regulatory systems for biotechnology in order to continue our trade in the future.
The Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety will soon be a reality as the required 50 countries ratify this treaty. While the Protocol is ostensibly an environmental treaty, several provisions, including those requiring notification of shipments of genetically modified grains, have the potential for trade disruption. Implementation of the notification provisions of the protocol will largely be the responsibility of individual countries. We are concerned that grain shippers will be facing yet another set of disparate and conflicting requirements for compliance with the Protocol and urge the U.S. Government to do all it can to seek reasonable implementation of this treaty.
The U.N.-sponsored Codex Alimentarius Commission is close to completing its work on an international standard on risk assessment principles for foods derived from biotechnology. These principles should be adopted this summer, and the United States should insist that countries that are instituting new approval regulations for biotechnology products follow the science-based evaluation system endorsed by this group. Since the WTO's Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement recognize the Codex Commission's rules as acceptable standards, we should insist that countries follow these rules when evaluating new biotechnology crop varieties.
The detractors of biotechnology want to hold onto an aesthetic of farming that no longer exists. With over 6 billion inhabitants, the Earth needs biotechnology to feed developed and developing nations alike. Without a doubt, the images used by Greenpeace activists use are frightening. Even more frightening is the potential result these irresponsible actions will have on starving populations. If we adhered to the internationally politically correct standard of farming, the level of starvation in Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world would be much worse.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For example, the Europeans convinced Africa, a continent riddled with starvation, that biotech corn is poisonous. Guards were blocking the U.S. food aid corn from release. The people were so hungry that they broke into the warehouses and took the corn. Government officials from Africa truly believe that they are protecting their citizens from a danger and that biotechnology is dangerous.
However, researching the issue a little more in-depth, one would find that crops derived from biotechnology are in most instances, safer that their conventional counterpart. When tariffs and safeguard actions are no longer available, sanitary and phytosanitary barriers are the choice du jour. If we allow this trend to continue we will damage all aspects of trade, for exporters and importers alike.
Competition for international markets will be fierce. The United States is already feeling the pressure applied by competitors like Argentina and China. In fact, USDA's corn export estimate for 200203 was lowered 75 million bushels to 1,750 million, the lowest export level since 199798. This raised ending stocks and led to reductions in both corn and sorghum price estimates.
Having described the challenges facing corn growers and agriculture, I do not recommend retreat in the face of these challenges. Our future as agricultural producers is linked to biotechnology and trade. The United States Government and organizations like NCGA need to promote the benefits of biotechnology while backing up those benefits with scientific analyses that will gain and sustain the confidence of even the most skeptical individual. This is a daunting challenge but one we stand ready to confront.
We look forward working with the Committee on this and other issues of importance in the future. I thank you again for the opportunity to address the Committee. I welcome your questions.
NCGA POSITION PAPER
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Title: BiotechnologyDate: 3/03Position Number: I-A1Expires: 3/04
Background: The development of biotechnology offers great promise for society. Biotechnology offers corn growers improved efficiencies and potential profits when managed wisely and with regulatory oversight based on sound science. The proliferation of biotech corn is redefining current systems of price discovery, consumer information, health regulation and trade management. Worldwide consumer acceptance of biotechnology will increase with the dissemination of science-based information. Responsible and accountable management by biotechnology providers, producers, suppliers, and grain merchandisers is imperative. We must address our customers' concerns and protect our traditional markets.
1. Support the positive contributions of biotechnology as it relates to human health, the environment, grain quality, and production benefits.
2. Support trade negotiations including the specific objective of harmonization or mutual acceptance of biotech agricultural products.
3. Support the development of internationally accepted, science-based tolerance standards. Encourage World Trade Organization action against the European Union for their illegal moratorium on the approval process of biotech corn.
4. Support the commercial release of biotech corn hybrids or products that have been fully approved by the relevant U.S. and Japanese regulatory agencies and for which the product registrant is aggressively pursuing approval in every country or bloc that requires approval prior to importation of corn, corn products, or food containing corn ingredients. Recognizing the importance of every customer of U.S. corn and corn products, NCGA will insist that every product registrant conducts due diligence in bringing products to market in a manner that does not disrupt domestic or international trade and will initiate discussions with biotech providers and end users to develop a certified marketing system that assures all events and products will reach appropriate markets.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
5. Marketing of corn by the seed industry that does not have worldwide approval must be focused in areas that do not jeopardize the export of commodity corn and commodity products.
Encourage improvement of existing grain channeling systems, including training.
6. Support the release of biotech corn that is intended for a specific end use and that has limited regulatory approval only through closed marketing systems or carefully conceived identity preservation systems that secure our ability to market corn and corn products worldwide.
7. Request that biotechnology providers assure the availability of accurate, affordable, timely tests to detect the presence of the regulated trait. Tests should be available prior to the release of new products.
8. Continue efforts to advise growers to insist that 2003 corn seed has been tested for the presence of Cry9C according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommended testing protocol.
9. Support establishing a science-based tolerance for commingled StarLink corn.
10. Support widespread promulgation by seed retailers of hybrid-specific export approval status to enable growers to immediately determine which hybrids are currently approved and which are not.
11. Request the seed industry to clearly label and identify the approval status of all varieties and to augment this effort with an aggressive communications program targeting grower customers.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
12. Support Food and Drug Administration's efforts to provide guidance for voluntary labeling that indicates whether foods have or have not been developed using bioengineering to identify attributes that are important to consumers in a manner that is truthful and not misleading and that provides for reasonable tolerances.
13. Support Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) efforts to develop merchandising standards for goods that do not contain biotech corn.
14. Encourage the mediation and resolution of biotech issues in a manner, which limits disruption of domestic and international corn marketing.
15. Encourage the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), registrants and the research community to work closely with producers to develop resistance management strategies that are workable for producers.
16. Require the seed industry to aggressively promote Insect Resistance Management (IRM) in their seed sales strategy.
17. Encourage biotech providers to avoid the use of antibiotic markers that unnecessarily raise consumer concerns.
18. Support the establishment of a publicly-funded research center at a land grantinstitution to disseminate information, science, etc. about biotech.
19. Technology agreements should indemnify producers from liability once they follow regulations and guidelines provided by the biotech provider and seed companies.
NCGA further encourages non-commodity corn that does not have full feed and food approval or tolerance be grown using science-based isolation and containment requirements away from corn grown for food or feed use.
20. Seed companies to include on the seed tag the percentage of biotech seed in the unit.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
21. Encourage technology providers to fully engage all regulatory options to reduce possible risk to commodity corn.
NCGA PositionTitle: Novel TraitsDate: 3/03Position Number: I-A2Expires: 7/03
Background: We believe that there is long-term opportunity for farmers to grow valueadded products derived from biotechnology and extracted from plants. Pursuit of this new technology platform holds great promise for society. The National Corn Growers Association will continue to work responsibly to position growers to capture value from these new products that ensure the safety of the food supply.
Some biotechnology products require extensive management. Trained and certified growers have the skills and ability necessary to produce these crops with proper audits. Containment and isolation of biotechnology products are critical issues that must be resolved in order to protect traditional markets, and realize the promise of this technology. Each product should be grown and handled differently based on a scientific risk assessment and therefore each product should have specific requirements for regulatory approval.
We urge that Federal policy not force abandonment of the process that has already been made to develop novel products in corn. Most importantly, we urge that Federal policy not prevent or exclude the opportunity to develop and grow these new products.
1. Promote research that leads to education of the general public on the benefits to the consumer of plant derived biologics.
2. With regard to field production of plant derived biologics (PDBs) such as corn containing pharmaceuticals and industrial enzymes, NCGA requests inclusion of the following recommendations to the Biotech Regulatory services of APHIS:
Isolation from commodity corn through the use of:
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Non transgenic pollen or male sterile corn
Dedicated systems of production
Third party verification
A process that ensures plant containing an unapproved trait be 100 percent detassled
A fallow system where appropriate
A grower training, testing and auditing program to implement standard operating procedures
3. Support the establishment of an independently owned and operated biotech ''underwriters laboratory'' to ensure consumer safety and confidence.
4. Strongly encourage the development of technology protection systems in all pharmaceutical and industrial enzyme corn.
Statement of Bob Stallman
Good morning. I am Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and I am pleased to provide you with our views about the impacts of artificial barriers to trade and food aid in agricultural products produced through biotechnology.
Gaining access to international markets for products of agricultural biotechnology is one of AFBF'S priority issues. The promise of this new technology to farmers and ranchers, and to people throughout the world, has only begun to be realized. The opportunities of this new technology to improve agricultural productivity, to improve human health and nutrition, and to improve the world's environment are endless.
AFBF believes any trade barrier erected against food or feed products of agricultural biotechnology that has as its basis the protection of human, animal or environmental health is an artificial barrier. AFBF has yet to discover any peer-reviewed scientific risk assessment that concludes that products of agricultural biotechnology intended for food use are inherently less safe to humans, animals or the environment than their traditional counterparts. Barriers erected or proposed to be erected that will affect trade and/or use of biotech products are in many international policies including, but not limited to, the convention on biological diversity and its Biosafety Protocol, the codex alimentarius, the international plant protection convention, the WTO negotiations on trade and environment, and in the legislative and regulatory bodies of dozens of countries throughout the world. It would take considerable time to describe each and every situation where the issue is being debated, so I will highlight some that have already had a direct impact on trade.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The most notable artificial barrier to trade in biotech products is the moratorium against new approvals of biotech products in the European Union. Widely agreed by most countries to be WTO inconsistent, the moratorium has cost U.S. growers millions of dollars in lost sales since it went into effect in 1998. AFBF and more than 30 other agricultural organizations have campaigned hard to get the administration to initiate a WTO dispute settlement proceeding against the moratorium. We believe that a WTO decision, which is expected to be in favor of the U.S., is the only reasonable remedy available to U.S. growers to either lift the moratorium or impose retaliatory tariffs on EU products imported in to the U.S.
The EU's proposed solution to its biotech moratorium, the enactment of new rules requiring biotech products to be labeled and traced from farm to fork, are equally inconsistent with the WTO agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) and the agreement on technical barriers to trade (TBT). A WTO inconsistent solution to a WTO inconsistent problem is not acceptable. Mr. Chairman, this committee and the administration should not believe that the EU biotech problem will be solved if labeling and traceability rules are enacted and the moratorium is lifted. As proposed, the labeling and traceability rules only make the problem worse by erecting new, unscientific barriers to processed food products in addition to agricultural commodities.
The moratorium and labeling and traceability rules will not be the last artificial barriers to agricultural biotechnology in the EU. There is published evidence that some EU member countries may require additional rules to be enacted to clarify environmental liability of agricultural biotechnology before they will vote to end the moratorium.
The ongoing EU moratorium has also fostered the imposition of artificial barriers to agricultural biotechnology in other countries. Scientists in Africa have angrily denounced the EU for its failure to control the anti-biotech messages of EU-sponsored nongovernmental aid organizations. These organizations have exploited the moratorium as an argument against the development and use of biotech products that would otherwise help to feed undernourished populations and foster much-needed economic development.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In China, agricultural biotechnology is strongly embraced and research is significant. Biotech crops such as cotton, soybeans and corn are produced in substantial quantities. Nevertheless the Chinese government has recently used biotech regulation for the purpose of slowing or halting trade in U.S. soybeans.
The lack of coordination between the different Chinese government agencies having responsibility for biotechnology has exacerbated the problem. This year the Chinese are requiring new field testing of biotech products that have already gained temporary approval to enter the country. The field tests are a surprise addition to those conducted last year. Chinese political leaders recently extended China's temporary biotech permit process through April 2004 to allow time for U.S. firms to conduct the necessary tests and to allow trade to continue. However in 2002, U.S. soybean producers lost more than $200 million while the Chinese developed and implemented their temporary regulatory system.
New laws and regulations affecting products of agricultural biotechnology are being considered in 44 nations that have ratified the convention on biological diversity and its Biosafety Protocol. These nations are attempting to comply with their obligations to this international environmental agreement that directs how member countries must treat living modified organisms. The United States is not a signatory to the convention. However, the terms of the Biosafety Protocol require U.S. shippers of biotech commodities to meet certain conditions before they can be accepted if the receiving country is a signatory to the convention.
Mr. Chairman, winning widespread acceptance of this new technology will be challenging and require considerable persistence. It is very important that this committee strongly support aggressive engagement of U.S. agricultural and food interests with foreign governments and research institutions, with foreign industries and most importantly, with foreign consumers to help them understand the benefits and promises of agricultural biotechnology.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSCIENTISTS IN SUPPORT OF AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY
We, the undersigned members of the scientific community, believe that recombinant DNA techniques constitute powerful and safe means for the modification of organisms and can contribute substantially in enhancing quality of life by improving agriculture, health care, and the environment.
The responsible genetic modification of plants is neither new nor dangerous. Many characteristics, such as pest and disease resistance, have been routinely introduced into crop plants by traditional methods of sexual reproduction or cell culture procedures. The addition of new or different genes into an organism by recombinant DNA techniques does not inherently pose new or heightened risks relative to the modification of organisms by more traditional methods, and the relative safety of marketed products is further ensured by current regulations intended to safeguard the food supply. The novel genetic tools offer greater flexibility and precision in the modification of crop plants.
No food products, whether produced with recombinant DNA techniques or with more traditional methods, are totally without risk. The risks posed by foods are a function of the biological characteristics of those foods and the specific genes that have been used, not of the processes employed in their development. Our goal as scientists is to ensure that any new foods produced from recombinant DNA are as safe or safer than foods already being consumed.
Current methods of regulation and development have worked well. Recombinant DNA techniques have already been used to develop ''environmentally-friendly'' crop plants with traits that preserve yields and allow farmers to reduce their use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides. The next generation of products promises to provide even greater benefits to consumers, such as enhanced nutrition, healthier oils, enhanced vitamin content, longer shelf-life and improved medicines.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Through judicious deployment, biotechnology can also address environmental degradation, hunger, and poverty in the developing world by providing improved agricultural productivity and greater nutritional security. Scientists at the international agricultural centers, universities, public research institutions, and elsewhere are already experimenting with products intended specifically for use in the developing world.
We hereby express our support for the use of recombinant DNA as a potent tool for the achievement of a productive and sustainable agricultural system. We also urge policy makers to use sound scientific principles in the regulation of products produced with recombinant DNA, and to base evaluations of those products upon the characteristics of those products, rather than on the processes used in their development.
Editor's note: The signatures of the 3,300 scientists, along with their affiliations, are on file with the committee