University of Minnesota professors to speak at symposium on international trade

02/10/04

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL--Developed countries that set trade barriers on agricultural exports from poor countries are hindering those countries' economic growth and development, according to research by a University of Minnesota professor. Applied economics professor Terry Roe will present his paper, "International Trade as a Source of Economic Growth: Trade Barriers and Institutions," at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Seattle.

Roe's presentation will be part of the "Preaching Free Trade, Practicing Protectionism" symposium at the AAAS meeting. Ronald Phillips, Regents Professor of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota, will also speak; his topic is "Are GMOs [genetically modified organisms] Safe?"

Roe argues that institutional reform in less developed countries is shown to be the major factor causing an increase in their economic growth. Since trade barriers erected by the United States and the European Union are a major barrier to institutional reform and therefore growth, U.S. policies ultimately help keep these countries poor.

Phillips will discuss several topics, including trade disputes between Europe and the United States; evolution of resistance to pesticides made by GMO crops; the extent of GMO crop plantings worldwide; patenting and labelling issues; the role of genetics in increasing food production; and biosafety protocols. He will also discuss current scientific work, such as projects to sequence the corn genome and research aimed at learning to insert genes into chromosomes in a precise manner.

The symposium will be moderated by a third University of Minnesota professor, G. Edward Schuh, who organized the event.

Terry Roe is director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Political Economy, co-director of the university's Economic Development Center and an adjunct member of the university's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Most of his research is in economic development, growth and trade. He is currently involved in a World Bank project to study macroeconomic effects of scarce water supplies in Turkey, Morocco and South Africa.

Ronald Phillips is director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Microbial and Plant Genomics. He is known for developing a method of culturing corn embryos in the laboratory that allows researchers to genetically engineer corn and other crop plants. He chaired the 1996-98 White House Commission that developed a national plan for plant genome research and heads a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project to sequence the corn genome as part of NSF's Plant Genome Research Program. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

G. Edward Schuh is a Regents Professor in the University of Minnesota's department of applied economics and Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, where he served as dean for 10 years. He has also served as program adviser to the Ford Foundation in Brazil, as senior staff economist on President Ford's Council of Economic Advisors, as deputy undersecretary for international affairs and commodity programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and as the World Bank's director of agriculture and rural development.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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