This Essay considers the regulation of international trade in genetically modified agricultural products. Specifically, it addresses both products released into the environment as seeds and products intended for consumption as food. The first part of the Essay describes the significance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in modern agriculture, especially agriculture in the United States. This discussion summarizes the risks and potential benefits associated with the use of agricultural GMOs, especially the risks and benefits related to biodiversity. The Essay then briefly describes the approaches to the regulation of these products adopted in the Cartagena Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Protocol). The Protocol basically pursues two different regulatory approaches. The Protocol adopts a regime of Advanced Informed Agreement (AIA) for the trans-boundary import of genetically modified food products released into the environment. Genetically modified agricultural products intended for consumption as food are subject to a more ambiguous regulatory scheme, which includes a labeling requirement for product shipments.
Michael P. Healy,
Information Based Regulation and International Trade in Genetically Modified Agricultural Products: An Evaluation of The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety,
Wash. U. J. L. & Pol’y