Marketplace, CA 08-23-06 EU may ban US rice

Marketplace, CA
EU may ban US rice
Japan banned US imports of long-grain rice over the weekend. Ashley Milne-Tyte
takes a look at the stakes if Europe announces restrictions of its own today as
LISA NAPOLI: The European Union doesn't like what's showing up in American
rice. It's likely to announce restrictions today on imports of the long-grained
variety. Japan banned American rice over the weekend. It's all after traces of
genetically modified rice were found mixed in to commercial supplies. Ashley
Milne-Tyte reports on how the ban will hit the US in the pocketbook.
ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: Last year Europe imported more than $70 million worth
of US long-grain rice.
Bruce Babcock of Iowa State University says the EU isn't likely to introduce an
all-out ban. but it could put testing requirements in place which it's done in the
past. But testing is expensive.
Babcock says the US has largely abandoned exporting beef to the EU because
of hormone testing requirements
BRUCE BABCOCK: "So once a regulation has been passed then United States
exporters can decide, is it worth meeting the regulation or is it not? And if it's not
then they you know then they have to go and try and get the regulations relaxed
or don't export to Europe."
The biggest export market for rice is South America. So far no one there has
raised concerns.
Babcock says that's because plenty of South American countries are busily
planting GM crops of their own.