Apr. 1, 2019
(Photo: Deputy secretary Andres Murchison, and biotechnology director Martin Lema led the video conference with its European counterparts)
Representatives of the Government Secretariat of AgroIndustry held a video conference with representatives of the European Union where they reviewed the bilateral agenda on agricultural biotechnology, with the aim of promoting transparency and regulatory harmonization to avoid commercial conflicts.
“Argentina continues to position itself as a benchmark in biotechnology and biosafety, and the European Union is one of our main destinations for the export of agro-industrial products. The strengthening of bilateral relations is, in this sense, a key tool to ensure a growing exchange commercialized by the bioeconomy, “said Secretary of Government of AgroIndustry, Luis Miguel Etchevehere, about this bilateral communication.
Recall that this new instance of dialogue occurs as part of a Mutually Agreed Solution between Argentina and the European Union (EU), after they faced the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the approval of biotechnological products, with the result of the EU having to abandon the unjustified moratorium that it maintained until that moment.
The agenda consisted of 21 topics of great technical, political and commercial content that impact the bilateral trade of biotechnological products or their derivatives and, indirectly, the margin of maneuver of Argentina to adopt agroindustrial innovations in the future.
Among these issues, Argentina expressed interest in the early approval of several biotechnological events in Europe. He also requested explanations from the European authorities about the bureaucratic difficulties faced by two national companies, a biotechnology company and another seed company, that need to register their products in the European market.
Both parties shared their news on regulatory matters. Argentina reported multiple improvements in its regulatory framework for agro-industrial biotechnology driven by criteria of adaptation to technological changes and debureaucratization; local representatives then raised concerns that certain regulatory developments in Europe may extend the authorization times for biotech products.
In addition, Argentina repeatedly requested that the European Union review its regulatory frameworks to consider cases of adventitious presence or LLP (“Low Level Presence”). It deals with the difficulties for trade derived from the asynchronous or asymmetric authorization of biotechnological products between exporting and importing countries; It is worth noting that Argentina is part of the Global LLP Initiative, a forum of countries seeking an adequate solution for this issue.
Argentina noted that the lack of policies in Europe for the LLP is the underlying cause of many of the agenda problems and, among other complications, is preventing us from adopting very promising technologies developed in the country. In particular, he insisted on the effective incorporation of the international standards of the Codex Alimentarius in this matter into European legislation.
To raise awareness of the fact that the LLP is an emerging complication also for products of European origin, it was noted that last year the Senasa had to destroy shipments of seed imported into our country from France, after having detected an adventitious presence of unauthorized FMO rapeseed.
The Argentine delegation was led by the Secretary of Food and Bioeconomy, Andres Murchison, who remarked to the European Delegation that the LLP is a challenge for both parties, and our special interest in the EU agreeing to work together to solve it.
On the other hand, it was informed about the two Declarations related to the Gene Edition that Argentina presented before the World Trade Organization on behalf of a wide group of nations. From the content of the same, on this occasion, Argentina highlighted the strong commitment assumed in working with third countries to avoid barriers to trade based on arbitrary and unjustifiable distinctions between equivalent products obtained by these or other techniques and indicated its interest in this dialogue serve that purpose.