November 25, 1999

'Trait' Sanctions?

Seedless in Seattle - Terminator Tech Trumps Trade Talks

Refusal to reject Suicide Seeds provokes fear that U.S. may use Terminator as a political weapon to enforce unilateral trade rules. From Trade Sanctions to Trait Sanctions?

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman s failure to reject Terminator Technology (a genetic modification that renders harvested seed sterile) may leave some World Trade Organization (WTO) trade delegations sleepless in Seattle. When the WTO meets next week in Seattle, governments are expected to endorse a new bout of global trade negotiations dubbed the Millennium Round. The United States will press for U.S. biased agricultural rules and tougher intellectual property provisions related to biotechnology. Some delegates and civil society organizations (CSO) attending the Seattle meeting fear that Uncle Sam will be tempted to use Terminator or (more likely) 'Traitor' (the remote-control of crop production traits) Technology to unilaterally dictate trade policies to countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Trait Sanctions: According to Pat Mooney, Executive Director of RAFI, a Canadian-based CSO, 'It would be nonsense to suggest that the USA is developing trait control technology for economic or biowarfare purposes. On the other hand,' Mooney adds, 'history shows that it would be imprudent to believe that the USA will turn its back on a technological weapon that could help fulfill its trade and foreign policy goals.' 'When we met with Mr. Glickman a month ago,' Hope Shand, Research Director for RAFI-USA recalls, 'we told him that Monsanto and AstraZeneca had abandoned the Terminator and that the Rockefeller Foundation, along with international agricultural research institutions and several countries, are all opposed to the commercial use of the technology. Glickman still refused to abandon the sterility strategy. This is kindling needless and undoubtedly premature alarm that the technologies could become a kind of trait sanction.'


PDF icon Download File0 bytes
Related Fora: 

Please consider supporting ETC's unique research and advocacy with a tax-deductible donation. Donate here