- A new report by the Breakthrough Institute and the Alliance for Science analyzes the economic impact of the EU’s stance on new genomic techniques (NGTs).
- The report estimates the EU’s annual economic opportunity cost of €171-335 billion if NGTs are not adopted.
- The EU’s existing regulations categorize gene-edited crops as GMOs, affecting the bioeconomic progress in Europe.
- The report emphasizes the global advancements in bioeconomy and the EU’s risk of falling behind.
- The European Commission’s July 2023 proposal to update NGT regulations has faced opposition from various stakeholders.
A recent report by the Breakthrough Institute and the Alliance for Science delves into the economic repercussions of the European Union’s (EU) current regulatory approach to new genomic techniques (NGTs). Titled “The €3 Trillion Cost of Saying No: How the EU Risks Falling Behind in the Bioeconomy Revolution,” the report explores the impact of NGTs on sectors like agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and plant-based proteins.
EU’s Regulatory Approach To NGT
The EU’s regulations, established in 2001, classify gene-edited crops as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This categorization has influenced the relocation of genetics startups and has been a roadblock to bioeconomic progress in Europe. The report acknowledges the European Commission’s July 2023 proposals to update these regulations but notes that they have met with opposition from NGOs, political parties, and member states.
The report provides a detailed analysis of the potential economic benefits that NGTs could bring to various sectors, including agriculture and human health. It estimates that the EU could face an annual economic opportunity cost ranging from €171 to €335 billion if it does not adopt NGTs. Over a decade, this could compound to over €3 trillion.
Dr. Emma Kovak, Senior Food and Agriculture Analyst at the Breakthrough Institute, stated that the EU risks falling behind as other countries pass new regulations supporting gene editing technologies. Dr. Sheila Ochugboju, the Alliance for Science director, emphasized the global impact of the EU’s regulatory decisions, particularly on the Global South, where it could hamper efforts to address food insecurity and poverty.
Scientific Community’s Concerns
The report revisits the 2018 European Court of Justice decision that subjects organisms modified using NGTs to the EU’s 2001 GMO legislation. It highlights the scientific community’s concerns about the EU’s stance on NGTs, especially considering global advancements in bioeconomy. The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and other scientific advisory groups suggest that NGTs do not introduce new safety risks compared to conventional methods.
Read the entire report here.