Import and export of GMOs

When GMOs are transferred from one country to another, the importer and the exporter must follow the conditions provided in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. In the transfers between EU countries EU legislation is followed.

Sometimes GMO activities may also involve genetic resources that are in the scope of the Nagoya Protocol. Its national competent authorities are the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the Natural Resources Institute of Finland (LUKE).

Import and export of genetically modified organisms for contained use

When GMOs are transferred from one country to another, the importer and the exporter must follow the conditions laid down in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. In the transfers between EU countries, however, EU legislation is followed.

When GMOs for contained use are imported to Finland, the notification and application procedures pursuant to the Gene Technology Act are followed. In practice, this means that the receiver must have submitted the relevant notifications of the premises in which the imported GMOs are to be used. During transport the GMOs imported from outside the EU must meet the document requirements laid down in the Protocol on Biosafety.

When GMOs for contained use are exported outside the EU, the Regulation (EC) No 1946/2003 on transboundary movements of GMOs is not applied if the export is carried out in accordance with the standards of the state to which the GMOs are imported. The state of import has the right to require a risk assessment before deciding on the import, and the right to issue national standards concerning contained use. The exporter must follow the document requirements pursuant to the Protocol on Biosafety.

Instructions on the obligations of importers and exporters of GMOs pursuant to the Protocol on Biosafety are available on the Finnish version of the web page.

The import/export of plants and animals may also be subject to provisions based on other legislation, on which further information is provided by the appropriate authorities (in Finland, the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira).

Import and export of GMOs for deliberate release

When GMOs are imported to Finland for a field trial (deliberate release into the environment for any other purpose than for placing on the market), the operator must have a consent for the field trial granted by the Board for Gene Technology. During transport the GMOs imported from outside the EU must meet the document requirements pursuant to the Protocol on Biosafety.

If GMOs are exported from Finland outside of the EU for a field trial, the exporter must see to it that a written notification is submitted to the competent authority of the state of import pursuant to the Regulation (EC) No 1946/2003 on transboundary movements of GMOs. The export may not be carried out without the written consent granted in advance by the state of import. In addition, the exporter must keep a record of all the notifications, acknowledgement of receipt and decisions taken by the state of import and send copies of these documents to the Board for Gene Technology and the EC Commission. The exported GMOs must meet the document requirements under the Protocol on Biosafety during transport.

The export of GMOs intended for direct use as feed or food, or for processing, outside the EU is authorised only if a consent has been granted for the GMOs to be placed on the EU market, or if the competent authority of a third country has expressly agreed to the import. The exporter must respect any decision on the import taken either by a state of import party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in accordance with the Protocol or by a state non-party to the Protocol in accordance with its own regulatory framework and the objectives of the Protocol. The Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) is used in the exchange of information.

Instructions on the obligations of importers and exporters of GMOs pursuant to the Protocol on Biosafety are available on the Finnish version of the web page.

The import/export of plants and animals may be subject to provisions based on other legislation on which further information is available from the competent authorities (in Finland the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira).