[JURIST] The World Trade Organization [official website] has made a preliminary ruling that European Union restrictions on genetically engineered crops [EU materials] violate international trade rules. The United States, Canada, Argentina - which together grow 80 percent of all biotech crops sold commercially - challenged the process [WTO case materials; USTR backgrounder, PDF] by which the EU regulates such crops. The countries argued that the EU's regulatory process was far too slow and its standards were unreasonable given that the overwhelming body of scientific evidence finds the crops safe. The European Commission [official website], which has called the WTO challenge unhelpful and unfounded [press release], contended that although it had previously stalled approvals for six years, from 1998 to 2004, it was currently in full compliance with international law. Wednesday's Washington Post has more. Read the USDA press release welcoming the ruling.