Office of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Textile Trade Affairs

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The Office of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Textile Trade Affairs (ABT or EEB/TPP/ABT) is one of four offices of the U.S. State Department's Trade Policy and Programs (TPP) within the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs (EEB).[1] As early as 2002, the State Department's Agricultural Trade Policy Division was promoting biotechnology internationally.[2] The word "Biotechnology" was added to the name of the office in late 2003. [3]

"The Agriculture, Biotechnology and Textile Trade Affairs (ABT) office works to advance the State Department’s critical global trade and food security goals. The ABT team is addressing barriers and opening markets for American farm products, contributing to the development of effective food aid policies, promoting rural development and increasing agricultural productivity through biotechnology, and coordinating the State Department policy on textiles, apparel, and cotton. The ABT office oversees the distribution of biotechnology outreach funds to promote international acceptance of the technology."[4]

As of 2011, ABT is led by Director for Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Textile Trade Affairs Edward Kaska.

The ABT office "seeks to maintain open markets" for genetically engineered U.S. products.

While genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are controversial all over the world and scientists have documented that, to date, GMOs have failed to deliver on their promises of increasing yield and decreasing pesticides, while simultaneously resulting in the development of herbicide resistant weeds and pesticide resistant insect pests, ABT's website claims that:

"Through the application of modern techniques of biotechnology to agriculture, breeders can make precise genetic changes that impart beneficial properties to the crops, trees, fish, and animals that provide us with food and fiber. Agricultural biotechnology helps farmers increase yields, enabling them to produce more food per acre while reducing the need for chemicals, pesticides, water, and tilling, thereby providing benefits to the environment as well as to the health and livelihood of farmers. Through specific design, biotechnology also can be used to enhance the nutritive value of staple foods to improve overall nutrition and health. Agricultural biotechnology holds great promise to boost food production in both the developed and the developing world and to reduce agricultural vulnerability to the impact of pests, viruses, and drought. It is, as a result, an important tool in the world's effort to combat food insecurity and malnutrition."[5]

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References

  1. Trade Policy and Programs, Accessed September 3, 2011.
  2. Agriculture and Textile Trade Policy, Captured June 9, 2002, accessed via the Internet Wayback Machine on September 3, 2011.
  3. Trade and Policy Programs, Captured December 23, 2003, accessed via the Internet Wayback Machine on September 3, 2011.
  4. Office of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Textile Trade Affairs, Accessed September 3, 2011.
  5. Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Textiles, Accessed September 3, 2011.

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