Germany's Merkel makes clear Europe will defend GM food stance in US trade talks

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe will defend its restrictions on genetically modified food in talks on a new free trade agreement with the United States.

Negotiations on the proposed trade deal are set to start in July. They will focus on lowering tariffs and rules that hinder trade in goods and services, and the deal is seen as a way of promoting new economic growth.

Potentially tricky areas include agricultural issues, such as EU restrictions on the use of genetically modified foods and pesticides.

Asked in her weekly video appearance Saturday whether the idea is to align European standards on genetic engineering with America’s, Merkel replied: “No. Above all, we do not want to simply minimize standards now — that is a concern many have.”