The development of new genetic modification techniques (nGMs), also referred to as “new (breeding) techniques” in other sources, has raised worldwide discussions regarding their regulation. Different existing regulatory frameworks for genetically modified organisms (GMO) cover nGMs to varying degrees. Coverage of nGMs depends mostly on the regulatory trigger. In general two different trigger systems can be distinguished, taking into account either the process applied during development or the characteristics of the resulting product. A key question is whether regulatory frameworks either based on process- or product-oriented triggers are more advantageous for the regulation of nGM applications. We analyzed regulatory frameworks for GMO from different countries covering both trigger systems with a focus on their applicability to plants developed by various nGMs. The study is based on a literature analysis and qualitative interviews with regulatory experts and risk assessors of GMO in the respective countries. The applied principles of risk assessment are very similar in all investigated countries independent of the applied trigger for regulation. Even though the regulatory trigger is either process- or product-oriented, both triggers systems show features of the respective other in practice. In addition our analysis shows that both trigger systems have a number of generic advantages and disadvantages, but neither system can be regarded as superior at a general level. More decisive for the regulation of organisms or products, especially nGM applications, are the variable criteria and exceptions used to implement the triggers in the different regulatory frameworks. There are discussions and consultations in some countries about whether changes in legislation are necessary to establish a desired level of regulation of nGMs. We identified five strategies for countries that desire to regulate nGM applications for biosafety–ranging from applying existing biosafety frameworks without further amendments to establishing new stand-alone legislation. Due to varying degrees of nGM regulation, international harmonization will supposedly not be achieved in the near future. In the context of international trade, transparency of the regulatory status of individual nGM products is a crucial issue. We therefore propose to introduce an international public registry listing all biotechnology products commercially used in agriculture. Read the full article here.