EU throws hand grenade into global agri-food trade

Professor Emeritus Dr Alan Matthews, Trinity College Dublin
Monday, July 11, 2022
On 6 July 2022 the EU circulated to WTO Members its proposed revisions to Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for two neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam. While such notifications of changes in MRLs are routine, this particular notification stands out because it is the first time that the EU, or indeed any WTO Member, has proposed to set MRLs on the basis of the global environmental impact of the specified pesticides rather than on the basis of good agricultural practice while ensuring protection of consumer health. This would mean that the new EU MRLs are effectively a ban on the import of agricultural commodities that have been produced using these insecticides.
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