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Ukraine to overhaul legislation on genetically-modified crops

KYIV, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Ukraine, which prohibits the cultivation of genetically-modified crops, plans to revamp its legislation in response to a growing illicit market for the crops, but hasn't decided whether to tighten or relax the ban, the agriculture ministry said.

Ukraine is a global exporter of agricultural products and the uncertainty over genetically-modified crops could hit shipments to countries where these products are prohibited.

Ukraine adopted a law on genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in 2007, but it does not contain control mechanisms and has a large number of inconsistencies, the ministry said in a statement.

"De jure, we do not have GMOs: they are not produced, grown and used. And de facto, in recent years, a shadow market of GMO products has formed in the country, which is in circulation outside of any control," the ministry said on Thursday.

"This violates the interests and rights of consumers who do not know what they are consuming. It also threatens the reputation and status of our state as a major exporter of agricultural products of plant origin. Ukraine must guarantee fair trade and economic relations," it added.

First deputy agriculture minister Taras Vysotskiy said the new legislation must be clearly spelled out and everyone must understand the rules in terms of testing, impact and threat assessment.

"Our goal, first of all, is to clearly prescribe the procedure, and then make a political decision - what restrictions or safeguards, obligations or prohibitions to establish," he said.

Ukraine is a global major grower and exporter of grains, cereals, oilseeds and vegetable oils. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by Mark Potter)

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