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Genetically modified crops may risk trade with Japan

Genetically modified crops may risk trade with Japan article image

An email about genetically modified crops has revealed that Western Australia could risk trade with Japan in agriculture sector if the state trials GM canola. Through a freedom of information request, WA's opposition trade minister Mark McGowan uncovered a number of emails between WA's Tokyo trade office commissioner Craig Peacock and a colleague that covered the damage control required if GM crops were introduced to WA: "I must stress how strongly the Japanese feel about this and the impression is that the new government is ignoring or taking lightly the concerns of a major customer base. This is not the voice of a crank group of zealots; it is in the press and on TV. If this continues it will eventually have a negative impact on all facets of Japan-WA agribusiness. It is that serious." WA Agriculture Minister Terry Redman says the claims are no cause for alarm. "Japan currently imports over two million tonnes of canola from Canada, which is GM canola," he said. "If you look at Western Australia, we grow just short of a million tonnes a year and we export into Japan somewhere between 150,000 tonnes and 200,000 tonnes. We're not seeing any measure of significant price difference between the GM and non-GM canola going into Japan." GM canola trials are currently being conducted in the state despite Labor and the Greens combining to block them in the state's upper house. Redman signed an exemption order to allow the trials earlier this year.

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