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At trade talks, U.S., E.U. ready for fight on genetically modified crops

Published: May 18, 2013
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Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post

LENNEWITZ, Germany — Many Europeans see American farming and its reliance on genetically modified crops as more Frankenstein than Farmer in the Dell.

Now, the opposition here to U.S. agricultural practices is threatening to become a major battle in discussions starting next month that could sweep away trade barriers between the United States and Europe.

Many here worry that a trade pact would ease regulations that have made it difficult for genetically modified crops and products to reach European shores. Genetically modified crops are broadly unpopular in Europe, and farmers and environmentalists fear that if trade restrictions are lowered, both genetically modified seeds and U.S.-grown genetically modified products would quickly take over European farmland and grocery stores.

Some farmers are hoping to stop the talks if rules that govern their work are thrown into the mix, and they are determined to keep U.S. industrial farming an ocean’s-length away.

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