21, 2003 -- The Wall Street Journal:
David Byrne, the EU commissioner for health and consumer
protection, was cited as saying that U.S. food companies
face a consumer backlash in Europe if Washington follows
through on threats to lodge a formal complaint at the
World Trade Organization over the European Union's biotech
food policies, and that the increasingly harsh U.S. rhetoric
on Europe's 4 1/2-year ban on testing new genetically
modified food is unfair, arguing Europe is making progress
toward restarting approvals this year, adding, "If
the U.S. or another trading bloc sought a regime on how
food was put on the market in Europe, I think the public
would react extremely badly."
The story says that U.S. companies that support taking
action say they are concerned it may hurt their bottom
line. But many in the Bush administration, including
Mr. Zoellick, now believe that lodging a WTO case is
important as a matter of principle.
Mr. Byrne didn't indicate specifically what form a
European consumer backlash could take. But trade analysts
have warned that Europeans might steer clear of U.S.
food products if Washington brought a WTO case to protest
what consumers could consider an American attempt to
restrict information about the food they find on store