Islam A. Siddiqui

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Ambassador Islam A. Siddiqui

Islam A. Siddiqui is the former Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Prior to this, he was Vice President for Science and Regulatory Affairs at CropLife America, an agricultural trade association, a Clinton Administration appointee, and a career official of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Career history[edit]

According to the U.S. Trade Representative's website,

From 2004 to 2009, Dr. Siddiqui served on the U.S. Department of Commerce's Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, and Health/Science Products & Services, which advises the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and USTR on international trade issues related to these sectors. Between 2001 and 2003, Dr. Siddiqui was appointed as Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he focused on agricultural biotechnology and food security issues. Before joining USDA, Dr. Siddiqui spent 28 years with the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He received a B.S. degree in plant protection from Uttar Pradesh Agricultural University (now renamed as Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology) in Pantnagar, India, as well as M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology, both from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.[1]

According to his official biography,

He served the Clinton Administration in several capacities from 1997-2001: at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dr. Siddiqui was Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs; Senior Trade Advisor to Secretary Dan Glickman; and Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. As a result, he worked closely with the USTR and represented USDA in bilateral, regional and multi-lateral agricultural trade negotiations. Before joining USDA, Dr. Siddiqui spent 28 years with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.[2]

From 2001 to 2008, Siddiqui was a registered lobbyist with CropLife America, representing biotechnology companies including BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, FMC Corp., Monsanto, Sumitomo, and Syngenta.

On April 2, 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama named Siddiqui to the post of Chief Agricultural Negotiator in a recess appointment. Siddiqui's previous nomination to the position remained on the Senate docket for more than a year and a half. His nomination was reported to the Senate floor from the United States Senate Committee on Finance on October 11, 2011, and senators finally voted to confirm Siddiqui as part of an en bloc group of nominations confirmed early in the morning hours of October 21, 2011.[3][4][5] Dr. Siddiqui submitted his resignation December 12, 2013.[6]

Position on GMO foods[edit]

Siddiqui is a supporter of genetically modified foods (GMO foods) for human consumption, and repudiates their potential health risks. In 1999 he worked against the mandatory labeling of GMO foods in Japan, stating that such labeling "would suggest a health risk where there is none."[7] In 2003, he criticized the European Union's precautionary rejection of the importation of GMO's, stating that the ban was tantamount to "denying food to starving people."[8] In 2009 he called for a "second green revolution" employing biotechnology and genetic engineering.[9]

In 1998, as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the United States Department of Agriculture, Siddiqui oversaw the release of the National Organic Program's standards for organic food labeling. The standards permitted both irradiated and GMO foods to be labeled as organic.[10] (The standards were subsequently revised in response to public opposition.)

In 2005, speaking on behalf of CropLife America, Siddiqui stated his satisfaction with the defeat of local propositions in California that would have banned GMO crop cultivation.[11]

References[edit]