Global trade in genetically modified (GM) food and feed products is affected by a confusion of international rules, the regulations of major importing countries and the demands of consumers. This discussion paper from the International Food Policy Research Institute aims to clarify the policy options available to developing countries and show how they can take advantage of the opportunities created by GM crops.

The document begins with a helpful summary of the major international rules and institutions governing international trade in GM crops and describes the uncertainty that surrounds the potential areas of conflict between the different sets of rules. The author then reviews the regulatory systems of two major importing powers – Japan and the European Union – and briefly assesses their influence over exporting countries and the pattern of global agricultural commodity trade.

In the light of his analysis, the author identifies four policy recommendations that should enable developing countries to remain in conformity with international rules while balancing the promotion of export opportunities against the productivity and economic advantages of GM crops for farmers and consumers. Policy analysts, students and teachers may find this document particularly useful.


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