The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

Vilsack to promote GMOs, biofuels in Paris

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will raise the issue of science-based rules that could allow countries to adopt biotechnology and promote biofuels at the Paris Air Show when he travels to Paris this month, he told The Hagstrom Report today.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who holds the presidency of the G20 countries, has invited Vilsack to attend a meeting of the agriculture ministers of the member countries. The meeting consists of a dinner at the Elysee Palace, the French presidential residence, on June 22 and a meeting on June 23.

Vilsack said he would raise the need for science-based rules as one of the ways to increase world agricultural production and achieve greater food security. He said he had no illusions that the ministers would reach consensus on the controversial issue of biotechnology, but believes it is important to raise the issue as frequently as possible at international meetings.

“This discussion moves in very, very tiny forward steps,” Vilsack said. “I want to continue that momentum.”

The timing of the G20 meeting will also allow Vilsack to attend the Paris Air Show, the world’s largest event dedicated to the aviation and space industries, where he plans to talk about U.S. efforts to develop biofuels for airline use. Vilsack has signed a memorandum of understanding with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to encourage development of advanced biofuels and other renewable energy systems.