06-22-16 ASTA: U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Moves Forward on International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources…

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U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Moves Forward on International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources

Alexandria, Va.—June 22, 2016—Following last month’s successful hearing, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a long-awaited votetomorrow on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.  The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) is urging the Committee to vote in favor of the Treaty, and to move it forward to the full Senate for ratification.

One of ASTA’s top legislative priorities, the Treaty is a simple and non-controversial solution to enable the exchange of plant materials globally.

“It’s no secret that our global food system is highly interconnected,” said ASTA President & CEO Andrew LaVigne.  “Newly published research shows that more than seventy percent of the food we eat and grow comes from crops that are not native to the U.S.  American researchers need access to global plant materials as they work to develop the next generation of plant varieties to prepare for future challenges like evolving plant pests and diseases, changing climates, and feeding a growing population.”

The Treaty has been ratified by more than 139 countries, many of which are both competitors of U.S. agriculture as well as important sources of seed exchange for public and private breeders here at home.  Ratification would require no new laws, and it would not require any appropriations from Congress. The Treaty enjoys bipartisan support, as well as strong support from private industry and public researchers. The Treaty would not alter access to U.S. gene banks by U.S. researchers, nor would it compromise existing intellectual property protections.

For more information on the Treaty, see ASTA’s briefing paper and testimony from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in May.

Founded in 1883, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) represents over 700 companies involved in seed production, plant breeding and related industries in North America. ASATA is an effective voice of action in all matters concerning the development, marketing and movement of seed, associated products and services throughout the world.   ASTA’s broad membership offers varieties from alfalfa to zucchini and all production types including conventional, organic and biotech. We promote the development of better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life.