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USGC Discusses Turkey's New Biosafety Law

by 5m Editor
23 April 2010, at 8:33am

US - The US Grains Council (USGC) is monitoring trade developments in Turkey following the passage of the country's new Biosafety Law that could affect the import of genetically enhanced (genetically modified; GM) grains and their co-products.

A USGC delegation recently travelled to Turkey with a representative from the US Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration to meet with industry and government officials about the new law and its implications for US agricultural exports into the country.

The Turkish government is currently in the process of writing regulations to implement the Biosafety Law, and will also be shortly putting out interim regulations that will be in place while the new regulations are being written.

“Overall, Turkey’s new Biosafety Law is quite vague, leaving room for a variety of interpretations and some concern,” said Rebecca Fecitt, USGC director of biotechnology programmes. “We are waiting to see what the interim regulations reveal as the Turkish government works to fully implement its new policies within the next six months. Obviously, we hope that the new regulations will allow the market for US corn and co-products to reopen, and we will do what we can to affect this outcome.”

In 2009, Turkey imported 285,631 metric tons of corn gluten feed (CGF) and 377,707 metric tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) from the United States, making it the top export market for US CGF and the sixth largest market for US DDGS. According to Joe O’Brien, USGC director in the Middle East and Subcontinent, local industry officials remain confident the Turkish government will find a reasonable solution.

“They feel the government will not allow the industry to starve out and that plans for poultry processing expansion and exports won’t fall short due to a lack of feed ingredients that need to be imported or to higher prices that come with the need for domestic replacements.”

In the meantime, Turkey’s Ministry of Agriculture continues to communicate with local industry representatives.

“Hopefully the government will listen to what local industry officials are saying and a sound decision can be made,” said USGC Biotechnology Advisory Team Leader Gary Schmalshof of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. “Turkey is an important market for corn co-products, and we will continue to work closely with the US government and local Turkish industry on this issue.”