A WTO panel has ruled the European Union's (EU) previous moratorium on approving biotech crops was in violation of global trade rules.

Since the EU replaced the moratorium with a complex approval process in 2004, the findings strike some as meaningless. However, supporters of biotechnology argue the ruling will at least dissuade other countries from imposing bans that are not justified by sound science.

“We were confident the WTO would find that the EU was at fault,” says Leon Corzine, National Corn Growers Association. “The ruling should be a signal to the rest of the world that trade practices such as this will not be tolerated.”

The WTO panel has ruled that individual bans on biotech products by six EU member countries were illegal, too.