Multi Party Negotiation

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A Multi Party Negotiation

A Multi Party Negotiation


The use of genetically modified organisms in food production and the production of food commodities has become a subject of considerable controversy and debate. Questions pertaining to potential impacts on human health and the environment have resulted in the polarization of stake holders including agricultural, fish and livestock producers, environmentalists, food safety regulators, and international trading partners and trade officials. In 1992, 175 nations signed the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Convention committed the signatory nations to develop an agreement on the safe transfer, handling, and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In February of 1999, the signatory nations reconvened in Cartagena, Colombia to negotiate the Biosafety Protocol which was finalized in January, 2000 in Montreal, Canada and signed by 130 countries (not including the U.S.) (Fisher, 2004).The Biosafety Protocol deals with the use of GMOs in commodities that may be used in food production but does not specifically deal with the use of GMOs in food products marketed for direct consumption.

At issue are the apparently competing standards related to the use of GMOs in the production, manufacturing, and export of commodities and food. The use of GMOs in the production of consumable food products is covered by the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS) of the WTO/GATT. The Biosafety Protocol introduces the precautionary principle as the acceptable standard for controlling the use of GMOs in commodities to be exported from one country to another. This simulation is designed to introduce negotiations related to the reconciliation of these standards among nations and trading regimes that have articulated different interests in the standards to be employed with respect to GMO labelling.


For purposes of this simulation exercise, a hypothetical set of facts have been developed involving the use of GMOs or genetic engineering in the production of salmon as both a food (ready for consumption) and as a commodity (for live fish farming and as a byproduct used in fertilizer production.) The scenario will include developed and developing countries and will mirror contemporary negotiations on the appropriate standards, protocols, and labelling procedures to be required with the export of salmon as food and as a commodity in trade. More specific criteria for the simulation and party instructions are set forth, infra., (Druckman, 2007).


"Genetically modified organism," (Beckmann, 2007) or GMO, means a living organism in which the genetic material has been permanently altered through gene technology in a way that does not occur naturally by multiplication and/or natural recombination. Since its introduction to the market in 1992, genetically engineered material has become a common ingredient in many types of foods sold and produced in the U.S. Since the growing and marketing of food products that contain or are derived from genetically modified organisms remain largely unregulated in the U.S., most Americans have not been aware of their existence and until recently, there has been little or no opposition to the sale of ...
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