GM Crops put on hold

 
Published: Monday 31 July 2000


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German government is trying to suspend commercial cultivation of genetically modified (gm) crops. It has started negotiating a temporary suspension with the country's biotech industry, which has shown readiness to co-operate.

The time period would be used for extensive research into environmental consequences of growing gm crops. A deal between the two parties would further harden the European position towards gm crops. "It must be the joint goal of all participants to create the potential of gene technology through greater transparency in scientific research and provide the masses with better information," said Gerhard Schroder, the German chancellor.

In return for growing gm crops only within the framework of a common research and observation programme, the biotech industry wants assurances that the federal government would campaign in favour of genetically modified crops once the suspension is lifted. Germany's biotech sector has grown tremendously since the relaxation of laws on genetic engineering in the mid-1990s.

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