David Byrne, European Commissioner for Consumer and Health Protection is on an official visit to the United States from 7 to 12 October to discuss biotechnology and public health issues. He will outline to the US administration the package of draft legislation proposed by the European Commission in July this year to update EU rules on genetically modified organisms. The proposals are currently being examined by the EU's legislative decision-making bodies, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers of EU Member States. They respond to requests made by several Member States and the European Parliament as a pre-requisite to lifting the current standstill on approving GMOs in Europe. Mr Byrne will outline to the US partners the next steps in addressing this de facto moratorium with a view to lifting it. On Monday Commissioner Byrne addressed The European Institute, a public policy discussion forum for transatlantic issues and spoke with US government and corporate decision-makers and policy analysts. In the evening he met Timothy Muris, the new Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Rockwell Schnabel, recently nominated US Ambassador to the EU, and Ms. Carol Tucker Foreman who is the Director of the Food Policy Institute of the Consumer Federation of America. On Tuesday Mr Byrne is scheduled to meet Ambassador Robert Zoellick (USTR), Senators Tom Harkin (Chairman) and Richard Luger (Minority Leader) of the Agriculture Committee of the Senate and Congressmen Larry Combest (chairman) and Charles Stenholm (Minority Leader) of the Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives. He will also see Mozelle Thompson, Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on protection of economic and juridical interests of consumers. In the evening Mr Byrne will address a dinner of the Congressional Economic Leadership Institute (CELI). Byrne is due to meet with Ann Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture, later this week and Alan Larson, Undersecretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs (US State Department), Gary Edson, Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy National Security Advisor who is chairing the Inter-agency Group on Biotechnology.