The UK’s new Prime Minster Johnson declared in his first speech that it is time “to liberate the UK’s bioscience sector from anti genetic modification rules”. EU policy on genetically modified organisms (GMO) is guided by the precautionary principle. At the moment, only one GMO has been granted an EU authorisation for cultivation (MON 810 corn from Monsanto, now Bayer). Nineteen countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Poland, have banned GMO cultivation altogether. Whilst the US, followed by Brazil, is the world’s largest GMO cultivator with over 100 million hectares (around 20% of its farmland).
Prime Minister Johnson’s international trade secretary, Liz Truss, is portrayed as an ultra-free market ideologue and has in the past spoken in favour of economic liberalisation and deregulation. Last year she also allegedly met US groups to discuss deregulation and the benefits of Reaganomics.
… but US help is uncertain
Immediately after the change of power in the UK, some US government representatives declared a readiness to agree a trade deal as soon as possible. They also “enthusiastically” supported a no-deal Brexit which they consider to be a window of opportunity to strike a “very substantial trade agreement”. But Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, ruled out the House’s support for any trade agreement with the UK which jeopardises the Good Friday Peace Agreement
Boris Johnson’s first speech as Prime Minister (24 July 2019)
European Parliament on GMOs cultivation ban in the EU
The Guardian on Liz Truss
Politico on US backing no-deal Brexit
The Irish Times on Nancy Pelosi
Brexit Watch previous related articles (see under section Trade)