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Vilsack to propose science-based rules for benefit of biotechnology, biofuels at G-20 meeting

WASHINGTON -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will raise the issue of science-based rules that could allow countries to adopt biotechnology and promote biofuels at the Paris Air Show when he travels to Paris later in June, he said June 3.

WASHINGTON -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will raise the issue of science-based rules that could allow countries to adopt biotechnology and promote biofuels at the Paris Air Show when he travels to Paris later in June, he said June 3.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who holds the presidency of the G-20 countries, has invited Vilsack to attend a meeting of the agriculture ministers of the member countries. The meeting consists of a dinner at the Elysee Palace, the French presidential residence, June 22 and a meeting June 23.

Production and security

Vilsack said he would raise the need for science-based rules as one of the ways to increase world agricultural production and achieve greater food security. He said he had no illusions that the ministers would reach consensus on the controversial issue of biotechnology, but thinks it is important to raise the issue as frequently as possible at international meetings.

"This discussion moves in very, very tiny forward steps," Vilsack said. "I want to continue that momentum."

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The timing of the G-20 meeting also will allow Vilsack to attend the Paris Air Show, the world's largest event dedicated to the aviation and space industries, where he plans to talk about U.S. efforts to develop biofuels for airline use. Vilsack has signed a memorandum of understanding with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to encourage development of advanced biofuels and other renewable energy systems.

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