ASTA Applauds International Statement in Support of Plant Breeding Innovation

  • On November 2, 2018

Alexandria, VA—November 2, 2018—The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) applauds the proactive, coordinated action by 13 countries, including the U.S., in signing onto the International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology. The statement reiterates an international commitment to the fair, science-based treatment of evolving plant breeding methods, like gene editing, around the world.

”This is a strong showing of support by governments around the world in recognition of the necessity of continued evolution in plant breeding, and the critical role that it will play in ensuring a more sustainable and secure global food production system,” said ASTA President & CEO Andrew LaVigne. “Seed is a global industry, and in light of the recent disappointing decision by the European Court of Justice, efforts such as this international statement are more important than ever in working toward the goal of global alignment on policies around agricultural innovation.” 

The statement was released in Geneva at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Endorsing the statement, to date, are: Argentina, which led this effort, as well as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, the United States, Uruguay, Vietnam and the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States.

“We applaud the U.S. government for its strong international leadership in support of coordinated, science-based policies around evolving plant breeding methods,” continued LaVigne. “The American seed industry is founded on innovation, and plant scientists have been successfully developing and improving crop varieties for hundreds of years – with tremendous benefits for American farmers and the health of our families and our environment. Our ability to continue to progress and find solutions to the challenges of tomorrow—from climate change, to evolving pests and diseases, and a growing population—will largely be dependent on the policies enacted both here in the U.S. and around the world.”

For more information on plant breeding, including evolving methods like gene editing, visit: seedinginnovation.org

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Founded in 1883, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) represents over 700 companies involved in seed production, plant breeding and related industries in North America. ASTA is the leading voice of action in all matters concerning the development, marketing and movement of seed, associated products and services throughout the world. The association’s broad membership offers varieties from alfalfa to zucchini and all production types including conventional, organic and biotech. ASTA promotes the development of better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life.