Ecoscript 37

Marie-Jose Smits. Export of Biotechnological Experiments and Production Units

The release into the environment of genetically modified orga-
nisms may have hazardous effects on the eco-system. Public
awareness of possible dangers led to the adoption of safety
regulations in many industrialized countries. These regulat-
ions, however, may restrict biotechnological experiments. For
that reason biotechnological companies and researchers are
tempted to relocate their activities to countries with less
restrictive regulations of this kind.

In both the Dutch and the European Parliament there have been
questions about "biotechnological tourism" which is defined as
"biotechnological activities which are transferred outside the
European Community to countries where the legislation is less
strict" (Official Parliamentary Reports, 1989). In connection
with this, the UNEP warns:
"The strict regulations in some of the industrialized coun-
tries on the release or application of genetically manipulated
organisms or their products might encourage some biotechnology
industries to conduct their experiments in Third World coun-
tries without government knowledge or approval because of the
lack of regulation, technical information and public accoun-
tability" (Zedan, 1989).

Sometimes it is even said the Third World countries are used
as guinea pigs for biotechnological activities (Times of
India, 1987). On the other hand, researchers from the South
occasionally advertise the possibilities in their country to
do fieldtests, in the hope to attract researchers for coopera-
tion from the North (Stolp, 1987).


Introduction 7
Biosafety regulations 7
Relocation of experiments 8
Cases of relocation of production 9
The consequences of the policy of sustainable development 11
Policy options and limitations 12
Biosafety measures in Third World countries 13
Recommendations 14
References 15