Monsanto Co said on Wednesday it will withdraw all pending approval requests to grow new types of genetically modified crops in the European Union, due to the lack of commercial prospects for cultivation there.
"We will be withdrawing the approvals in the coming months," Monsanto's President and Managing Director for Europe, Jose Manuel Madero, told Reuters by telephone.
Madero said the decision would allow the company to focus on growing its conventional seeds business in Europe, as well as securing EU approvals to import its genetically modified crop varieties widely grown in the United States and South America.
The decision covered five EU approval requests to grow genetically modified maize, plus one soybean and one sugar beet. The company said it would not withdraw its application to renew the approval for its insect-resistant MON810 maize - the only GMO crop currently cultivated commercially in Europe.
A spokesman for the European Commission, which manages the EU's GMO approval system, confirmed that Monsanto had informed it of its intention to withdraw the applications.
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