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Monsanto Withdraws GM Applications in EU

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Monsanto has said it will no longer seek approval for the cultivation of new GM crops in Europe because of the EU's negative stance towards biotechnology after more than a decade of hostility from consumers and governments. The EU makes up about 0.1% of the world biotech-crop area, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. The company has said it is withdrawing pending applications for commercial cultivation of new biotech crops in the EU on the grounds that Europe is effectively a conventional seed market. The EU has not approved a major new biotech product for cultivation since 1998, and currently has suspended the progression of cultivation which, according to Monsanto, indicates decisions being made for political reasons. Monsanto said its business in Europe was strong and growing and it would be investing several hundred million dollars over the next decade to expand its conventional seed business. The company emphasised that GM crops were growing globally and Monsanto remained committed to enabling that growth – including working with EU regulators on import approvals for GM crops grown outside of Europe. It is clear there is not a path to market and commercialize GM products for cultivation in Europe according to Mark Buckingham, a Monsanto spokesman in Cambourne, England. Monsanto needs to focus its limited resources where it can obtain the best return. In Europe, there are significant opportunities in conventional breeding. Monsanto's shares fell 0.2% to $102.78 in New York.

The company plans to withdraw applications for six corn varieties, as well as for a soybean and a sugar beet variety, according to Buckingham. Monsanto will keep its bid to renew approval for MON810 corn, which was previously approved in the EU, he said.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-08-01

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