Policy Papers

  • 08.06.2009

    Options for Ukraine with regard to its National Policy towards GMOs: the EU or US Model?


    The first generation of genetically modified plants has been successfully adopted in agriculture and in 2008 they were cultivated on 125 million hectares by 13.3 million farmers in 25 countries. The second generation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that comprises food, feed and fiber with enhanced nutritional and/or quality characteristics is nearing commercialization and the third generation is under research and development. As Ukraine’s economy becomes more and more integrated into the global economy (accession to the World Trade Organization, negotiations of a free trade agreement with the European Union), the current trend towards the GMO use will certainly not omit the country. In this situation, it is high time for Ukraine to decide on its national policy towards GMOs and to (further) develop a regulatory framework on commercial use of genetic modification according to the chosen principles. The OECD report of 2009 “The bioeconomy to 2030 - designing a political agenda” ecognizes regulations  and the predictability of the regulatory framework as one of the main factors influencing the development of biotechnology. The others are public research support, intellectual property rights and attitude of the public towards biotechnology products2. In this study we focus on regulations. The study aims to review two regulatory systems governing the production and consumption of GMOs – the EU and US system. Focus will be put on the following three aspects: approval procedure for GMOs, GMO labeling and GMOs already approved. We discuss briefly whether the EU will change its restrictive GMO policy under the pressure of its trading partners, especially the USA. If yes, the question of Ukrainian choice between the two rival models would lose its actuality. Further, we comment on the interests of Ukraine – of economic and political character – which form the basis for the country’s decision on the GMO issue. We argue that Ukraine has already chosen to follow the EU in this respect, at least at the level of legislation.
    Still, this step is not widely accepted as the issue of mandatory labeling of GMOs in Ukraine shows. As a starting point, the current situation in Ukraine with regard to GMOs is analyzed with the emphasis put on the gap between practice and the principles set by lawmakers. Also, we are including some basic information on genetically modified organisms (their definition, history and recent developments in cultivation and trade) and on GMO handling in Russia as an additional feature.

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