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World oilseed trade consists of many closely substitutable commodities, with canola and cotton seed as possible alternatives to soyabeans for many purposes. Transgenic events in all three crops have been widely adopted, particularly in North and South America, for compelling economic or agronomic reasons. Despite the close attention from organisations concerned about the potential environmental consequences of transgenic crop adoption, no evidence of permanent disruption of ecosystems has been substantiated. No transgenic canola, cotton or soyabean crops are permitted for commercial cultivation in Europe, and although some transgenic feed resources are permitted for import, importers are at severe risk of shipments being denied entry if the slightest trace of an unauthorised transgenic crop is detected in a non-transgenic shipment. This means that livestock farmers in the EU can be disadvantaged due to restricted access or higher feed costs thus losing a degree of competitive advantage. In this paper the extent to which transgenic soyabeans have become a major component of livestock nutrition worldwide is examined. The future trends in prices for EU imports of soyabeans and soyabean oil in the light of further transgenic soyabean events now being introduced are assessed, and the effect on import prices of demand for soyabean oil for conversion to biodiesel is discussed.


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