Business Briefs

The EU-US Dispute Over
Genetically Modified Organisms

Since 2003 the European Union and the United States have been engaged in a fierce dispute over the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food products. While a recent WTO ruling has found in favor of the United States, it has failed to address the underlying causes for the dispute and is therefore unlikely to bring an end to transatlantic differences. The following brief will argue that at the bottom of the current crisis are divergent regulatory approaches based on different transatlantic visions of risk management. With both actors determined to enforce their regulatory model as international standard, trade disputes between the two are likely to continue.

  • Background: The WTO Dispute
  • EU-US Differences in Regulatory Approaches
    • "Primum non nocere": Europe and the Precautionary Principle
    • The "Sound Science" Approach: Dealing with Uncertainty in the United States
  • Differences in Public Perception
  • Impact of the WTO Ruling: The End of the Precautionary Principle?

Download this brief (PDF)


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