ASTA, CSTA, And Others Applaud International Statement in Support of Plant Breeding Innovation

Alexandria, VA (November 2, 2018) — The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) applauds the proactive, coordinated action by 13 countries, including the United States, in signing onto the International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology.

The statement reiterates an international commitment to the fair, science-based treatment of evolving plant breeding methods, like gene editing, around the world.

”This is a strong showing of support by governments around the world in recognition of the necessity of continued evolution in plant breeding, and the critical role that it will play in ensuring a more sustainable and secure global food production system,” says ASTA President & CEO Andrew LaVigne. “Seed is a global industry, and in light of the recent disappointing decision by the European Court of Justice, efforts such as this international statement are more important than ever in working toward the goal of global alignment on policies around agricultural innovation.”

The statement was released in Geneva at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Endorsing the statement, to date, are: Argentina, which led this effort, as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, the United States, Uruguay, Vietnam and the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States.

“We applaud the U.S. government for its strong international leadership in support of coordinated, science-based policies around evolving plant breeding methods,” continues LaVigne. “The American seed industry is founded on innovation, and plant scientists have been successfully developing and improving crop varieties for hundreds of years – with tremendous benefits for American farmers and the health of our families and our environment. Our ability to continue to progress and find solutions to the challenges of tomorrow—from climate change, to evolving pests and diseases, and a growing population—will largely be dependent on the policies enacted both here in the U.S. and around the world.”

For more information on plant breeding, including evolving methods like gene editing, visit: seedinginnovation.org.

Founded in 1883, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) represents over 700 companies involved in seed production, plant breeding and related industries in North America. ASTA is the leading voice of action in all matters concerning the development, marketing and movement of seed, associated products and services throughout the world. The association's broad membership offers varieties from alfalfa to zucchini and all production types including conventional, organic and biotech. ASTA promotes the development of better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life.


WTO Members Support Policy Approaches to Enable Innovation in Agriculture

Washington, DC (November 2, 2018) - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the United States has joined with 12 other nations to support policies that enable agricultural innovation, including genome editing. The International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology was released in Geneva at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

“Precision biotechnologies such as genome editing hold great promise for both farmers and consumers around the world. These tools can play a critical role in helping farmers address many of the production challenges they face while improving the quality and nutritional value of foods available to consumers worldwide,” said Perdue.

“Unfortunately, such technologies too often face regulatory roadblocks that are based on misinformation and political posturing. Therefore, it’s gratifying to see Argentina and other allies come together under the WTO umbrella to publicly embrace science-based regulatory systems that will allow us to unlock the huge potential of these new technologies.”

Countries and organizations supporting the statement, to date, are: Argentina, which led this effort, as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, the United States, Uruguay, Vietnam and the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States.

The text of the joint statement, which is being updated as additional countries sign on, is available on the WTO website.


Canada Joins Global Partners In Support Of Agriculture Innovation And Trade

Ottawa, ON (November 2, 2018) - The Government of Canada recognizes that Canadian innovation has helped make our country a leader in producing safe, high quality products and we are committed to fostering innovation in the agricultural sector – here in Canada and beyond.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, is pleased that Canada has joined Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, the United States, Uruguay, Vietnam, and the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in supporting the International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology. The Statement sends a strong message to governments around the world that we must strive for functional, risk-based regulatory approaches that encourage innovation and facilitate trade if we are to more effectively unlock the benefits from the latest scientific advances such as gene editing.

Globally, farmers need access and the ability to choose new and better tools to help address major worldwide challenges such as climate change, pest and disease pressures, and food security. At the same time, consumer demand for healthier, higher quality foods at affordable prices continues to grow, putting pressure on farmers to be more efficient.

It is critical that regulatory frameworks be rooted in science, protect animal and plant health as well as the environment, while ensuring only safe products get to market. It is also important that they are transparent, predictable, and focus oversight on those products that pose potential risk. Governments must create an enabling environment in which all players are able to take advantage of advances in innovation.

In supporting the International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology, Canada is committing to work with international partners to minimize unnecessary barriers to trade related to the regulatory oversight of products of precision biotechnology.

Quotes

"We are committed to supporting agricultural innovation, here in Canada and abroad, recognizing its essential role in growing prosperous economies. Today, we are sending a strong message that we stand ready to work with our global partners in support of transparent, predictable and science-based regulatory approaches to reduce potential trade disruptions and allow for the commercialization of precision biotechnology products."
- Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"Canada has a long and distinguished history as a global leader in developing and supporting a rules-based international trading order. We will continue to work cooperatively with other governments to minimize unnecessary barriers to trade, including those related to the regulatory oversight of products of precision biotechnology."
- Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification

Quick facts

  • In 2017, 67 countries adopted agricultural biotechnology crops — 24 countries planted and 43 additional countries imported. The same year, 189.8 million hectares of agricultural biotechnology crops were planted by up to 17 million farmers.
  • The major agricultural biotechnology crops currently grown globally are soybeans, maize, cotton, and canola.
  • Canada ranks fifth in the world in terms of area cultivated with agricultural biotechnology crop varieties, behind the United States, Brazil, Argentina and India.

CSTA Praises International Statement in Support of Plant Breeding Innovation

Ottawa, ON (November 5, 2018) – On October 30, 2018, Canada joined like-minded countries in signing the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology.

The Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) applauds the effort and supports continued global coordination on biotechnology. The WTO’s statement refers to the the benefits that biotechnology, including gene editing, can provide to society.

Specifically, it states, “precision biotechnology techniques, as a whole, constitute an essential tool for agricultural innovation. Their use provides farmers with access to products that increase productivity while preserving environmental sustainability.”

“WTO’s statement demonstrates a worldwide recognition of the critical role that plant breeding techniques play in global food production,” says CSTA Executive Director Dave Carey. “Seed is the first link in the agri-food value chain and innovative techniques are required now more than ever to meet the growing demand for high-quality food and feed that is produced in an efficient and sustainable manner.”

The statement was released at the WTO Committee on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures in Geneva. To date, the following countries and organizations have endorsed this statement: Argentina, leading this effort, as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, the United States, Uruguay, Vietnam, and the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States.

“CSTA congratulates the Canadian government for continuing to show leadership and support of policies that foster science-based developments, particularly those around evolving plant breeding methods,” continues Carey. “With the world’s ever expanding population and the rapid evolution of challenges in agriculture, including new pests and diseases and climate change, it is more important than ever that we work collaboratively on a global scale to find solutions that are reinforced by science.”

For more information on plant breeding, including evolving methods like gene editing, visit: seedinginnovation.org.

The Canadian Seed Trade Association is the national voice of more than 130 seed company members engaged in all aspects of seed research, production and marketing and trade, both domestically and internationally. Learn more about CSTA at seedinnovation.ca. Follow us on Twitter @SeedInnovation.


Growers Welcome International Statement On Plant Breeding Innovations

Plant breeding innovation presents significant opportunities for growers, consumers and the environment

Ottawa, ON (November 2, 2018) - Grain Growers of Canada welcomed the announcement that Canada, along with like minded countries from around the world, have signed an international statement on agricultural applications of precision biotechnology. The international statement recognizes the potential benefits this technology can bring and the need for regulatory frameworks that encourage research and minimize potential disruptions to trade.

“Growers are excited about the potential of new plant breeding innovations,” says GGC President Jeff Nielsen. “We are pleased that the Government of Canada is playing an international leadership role on this important issue. We look forward to also seeing progress here at home.”

Plant breeding innovation includes tools like gene editing systems that can bring new varieties to the market faster and with lower costs than ever before. These varieties have the potential to be higher yielding, healthier for consumers and the environment, and improve food security while continuing to maintain Canada’s high expectations for safety.

“This international agreement shows that there is support around the world for the future of plant breeding,” says Doug Sell, Chair of GGC’s Sustainability and Sound Science Committee. “Growers in Canada look forward to using new varieties produced by these latest plant breeding techniques and this international statement is a step in that direction.”

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 65,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through it’s 16 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.