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Perdue Critical of Vietnam's Ban on Glyphosate Imports
USAgNet - 04/12/2019

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Thursday responded to an announcement by Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) that the Southeast Asian country will ban the importation of glyphosate:

"We are disappointed in Vietnam's decision to ban glyphosate, a move that will have devastating impacts on global agricultural production. As I've often said, if we're going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, farmers worldwide need all the tools and technologies at our disposal," Perdue said.

Vietnam said that the toxic level of herbicides containing glyphosate had long been of concern, in the latest display of global worries over the product's impact on human health. State media reports said the ban would take effect in June.

Glyphosate, the chemical contained in Bayer unit Monsanto's best-selling weed-killer Roundup, is the target of lawsuits in the United States alleging cancer links.

Roundup was the first weed-killer to contain glyphosate, the world's most widely used weed killer. But it is no longer patent-protected and many other versions are available.

Bayer did not immediately respond to a request from Reuter's new service for comment.

"On numerous occasions, USDA has shared scientific studies with MARD from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other internationally recognized regulatory bodies concluding that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans. This ban flies on the face of that scientific evidence. Furthermore, Vietnam has sidestepped its obligation to notify this regulatory change to the World Trade Organization," said Perdue. "Vietnam also needs to look at the potential ramifications for its own farmers. In addition to the immediate effect of slowing the development of Vietnamese agricultural production, there's the very real risk that Vietnam's farmers will turn to unregulated, illegal chemical products in place of glyphosate."

Hoang Trung, head of the Plant Protection Department under Vietnam's MARD, said in a statement posted on the department's website that long-term exposure to herbicides and pesticides affects the environment and is severely unhealthy for those exposed.

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