How to get out of the Transatlantic Regulatory deadlock over GMOs? This is Time for Regulatory Cooperation

author(s): 
Alberto Alemanno
2009

The aim of this paper is to identify some possible ways out of the current transatlantic deadlock over GMOs, by focusing in particular on the regulatory cooperation option. After providing an account of the most important initiatives undertaken to reconcile the EU and US regulatory divergence in the past, it explores whether there is a case for transatlantic regulatory cooperation in the GMO sector. It argues that the current inability of the WTO/SPS framework to govern genetic engineering combined with the rise of emerging economies as new actors of the global GMO industry as well as the increasing unsustainability of the EU GM framework provide both the US and the EU valuable incentives to engage into an effective regulatory cooperation exercise. Unlike previous experiences of transatlantic cooperation, the two sides should not aim at harmonisation or mutual recognition of standards, but rather promote mutual understanding of their existing regimes and different regulatory approaches. Although the final aim of the cooperation exercise should be the identification of a basic set of common transatlantic risk analysis principles, the focus of cooperation should be on risk assessment, by far the most suitable procedural stage for engaging into a comparative scrutiny. Several recommendations are formulated on how to conduct an effective dialogue aimed at identifying divergence before trying to overcome them

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