Genes, Trade, and Regulation
The Seeds of Conflict in Food Biotechnology
Agricultural (or "green") biotechnology is a source of growing tensions in the global trading system, particularly between the United States and the European Union. Genetically modified food faces an uncertain future. The technology behind it might revolutionize food production around the world. Or it might follow the example of nuclear energy, which declined from a symbol of socioeconomic progress to become one of the most unpopular and uneconomical innovations in history.
This book provides novel and thought-provoking insights into the fundamental policy issues involved in agricultural biotechnology. Thomas Bernauer explains global regulatory polarization and trade conflict in this area. He then evaluates cooperative and unilateral policy tools for coping with trade tensions. Arguing that the tools used thus far have been and will continue to be ineffective, he concludes that the risk of a full-blown trade conflict is high and may lead to reduced investment and the decline of the technology. Bernauer concludes with suggestions for policy reforms to halt this trajectory--recommendations that strike a sensible balance between public-safety concerns and private economic freedom--so that food biotechnology is given a fair chance to prove its environmental, health, humanitarian, and economic benefits.
This book will equip companies, farmers, regulators, NGOs, academics, students, and the interested public--including both advocates and critics of green biotechnology--with a deeper understanding of the political, economic, and societal factors shaping the future of one of the most revolutionary technologies of our times.Thomas Bernauer is Professor of Political Science at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and a widely published author on international economic and environmental issues.