Offering a pragmatic, long-term strategy for managing the gene revolution, this study concludes that genetically modified (GM) foods could help improve the quality of life in developing countries. The authors warn, however, that this important innovation is at risk of being derailed by current U.S.-European Union (EU) trade disputes.
This report outlines a strategy based on active policy reforms rather than the current laissez-faire approach. The benefits of crop engineering must be directed to those who have most to gain: the two billion farmers and rural poor in developing countries who could meet food demands while reducing adverse environmental impacts. Breakthroughs in GM technology must be shared by the private and public sectors, allowing economic rewards for innovation but spreading benefits as widely as possible. Governments must take care to ensure that the trade conflicts between the United States and the EU over GM products do not escalate out of control. The authors outline a strategy for managing this conflict and implore the U.S. trade representative not to launch a formal dispute in the World Trade Organization that, once unleashed, will be hard to tame.