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BRUSSELS - The U.S. administration is finding it tough to decide on launching a trade dispute case against the European Union over its ban on gene-modified foods, a U.S. trade official said on Monday.
Officials of the Bush administration have threatened to take the EU to the World Trade Organization over the effective ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) but have not set a date for a decision.
"People are genuinely wrestling with the question of what is the best way to deal with this situation," the U.S. trade official told reporters.
Farm groups and influential lawmakers have urged the Bush administration to seek a WTO ruling on the EU moratorium, which they say costs U.S. farmers $300 million a year in sales.
The EU Commission has said a trade case would be counter-productive toward its efforts to end the ban by pushing through legislation to trace and label GM food before allowing it on supermarket shelves.
The U.S. trade official said the Bush administration was not only looking at lost sales when considering whether to launch its case, but at the example the EU was setting for the rest of the world with its resistance to GM products.
U.S. officials have accused the EU of immorality in the GM case as the bloc's stance has convinced some African countries to refuse aid as it was GM food. The Commission has strongly rejected these accusations.