The World Trade Organization has preliminarily found that the European Union has a de facto moratorium on genetically modified crops that violates international trade rules. Though the decision is a win for the biotech industry, a final ruling in the case is not expected until later this year, and Europe could appeal. In 1998, member states in the EU began blocking regulatory approval for new agricultural biotech products, a move that effectively prohibits most U.S. corn and corn product exports to Europe. U.S. officials contend the EU is imposing undue delays on biotech approvals on the basis of politics rather than science. They say they want the EU to apply a scientific, timely, rules-based review and approval process to product applications. "The facts on agricultural biotechnology are clear and compelling," says U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman. "It is a safe and beneficial technology that is improving food security and helping to reduce poverty worldwide." The EU says it remains confident that its regulatory regime for genetically modified food and feed is "fully compatible with its international commitments," including those under WTO.