UPDATE 1-EU lifts restrictions on US rice imports – official

(Adds details, quotes, result of GM maize approval votes)

BRUSSELS, April 19 (BestGrowthStock) – The European Union has lifted
restrictions on imports of rice from the United States that
were imposed in 2006 after shipments were found to contain
genetically modified rice not approved in the bloc, an EU
official said on Monday.

U.S. rice imports to the EU have been at a virtual
standstill since 2006 because the restrictions meant rice could
be approved for sale only if accompanied by test documents
proving they were free of GM rice LL 601, produced by Germany’s
Bayer CropScience (BAYE.BO: ).

“The proposal to lift the measure followed testing by the
U.S. Rice Federation for the 2009 crop of harvested rice, which
did not detect lots containing LL Rice 601,” a spokesman for EU
Health Commissioner John Dalli said in a statement.

The EU has also received assurances that U.S. exporters will
continue to apply a strict testing plan to rice exported to
Europe, the spokesman said.

The same committee of EU member state officials that agreed
to lift the rice import restrictions failed to reach a decision
on Monday on proposals to authorise imports to the EU of three
GM maize varieties for use as food and feed.

The proposals covered new authorisations for two
insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant maize varieties,
MON89034xNK603 and Bt11xGA21, developed by Monsanto and Syngenta
respectively.

A third decision covered the renewal of an existing
authorisation for the insect-resistant Bt11 maize, also
developed by Syngenta.

As the committee failed to reach a majority decision for or
against the proposals, they will now be sent to EU ministers for
approval.
(Reporting by Charlie Dunmore; Editing by James Jukwey)

UPDATE 1-EU lifts restrictions on US rice imports – official