The lack of coherency on the trade ramifications of genetically modified wheat was graphically illustrated during discussions at the conference of the Latino Americana de Industriales Molineros. While GM wheat has not been commercialized, some milling industry representatives from across the hemisphere expressed their hopes for the future benefits that biotechnology may bring, while others voiced concerns about liability if the world's wheat market system fails to meet vastly different country and consumer requirements.

A panel discussion on GM wheat, moderated by USW public affairs director Dawn Forsythe, presented information on the status and issues surrounding GM wheat currently under development. USW president Alan Tracy presented the U.S. wheat industry's position on biotechnology, informing the assembled group that the industry is urging Monsanto and others to delay commercialization until there is regulatory approval, consumer acceptance, reliable segregation, and achievable tolerance levels in importing countries.

Bruce Andrews, agricultural advisor to Monsanto, presented the company's goals and timetable for commercialization of their herbicide resistant wheat, explaining that Monsanto is in the beginning stages of regulatory reviews in the U.S., Canada and Japan.

Gary Martin, president and CEO of the North American Export Grain Association pointed to the various international organizations reviewing policies on traceability, labeling, and liability. Those issues have to be addressed before commercialization, Martin said.

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