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6-Regulation: Mexican government plans to legalise GE crops



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TITLE:  Greenpeace: Fox administration to legalize GM crops
SOURCE: The News Mexico, by Reed Lindsay
        http://www.thenewsmexico.com/noticia.asp?id=11951
DATE:   November 2, 2001

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


Greenpeace: Fox administration to legalize GM crops

MEXICO CITY - In closed-door meetings with agribusiness executives, the 
Agriculture Secretariat (Sagarpa) is working to legalize the cultivation of 
genetically modified (GM) crops, Greenpeace Mexico announced on Thursday. 
The meetings were convoked by Sagarpa to discuss the creation of a measure 
that would set the rules by which GM agricultural products could be grown 
and sold on a large scale. Currently, genetically engineered crops are 
limited to a handful of "pilot projects" involving the cultivation of 
soybeans and cotton.

According to Greenpeace legal counsel Maria Colin, Sagarpa is rushing to 
open up the nation's agriculture sector to GM products before Congress has 
a chance to pass legislation that could either set strict limits on their 
production, importation and commercialization, or prohibit them outright. 
"Right now there is a giant gap in the law in the area of genetically 
modified products," said Colin at a Mexico City news conference. "Before 
thinking about technical regulations in benefit of the largest agribusiness 
companies, we have to establish a legal framework that ensures the nation's 
biosecurity."

Earlier this month, Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) Dep. Francisco 
Pati–o Cardona introduced an initiative that aims to regulate genetically 
engineered products, but it likely will take months for a bill to make its 
way through Congress. After attending the first few monthly Sagarpa-
organized meetings - which began in May - Colin said she and another 
Greenpeace representative stopped going for fear their presence would be 
used to legitimize the eventual legalization of genetically engineered 
crops.

According to Colin, of the less than 20 people who attended the meetings, 
six or seven were representatives from agribusiness, including Pulsar 
Internacional, Monsanto and AgroBIO, a non-profit front for industry 
behemoths such as Syngenta, Aventis, Dupont and Monsanto. The remaining 
participants included the two Greenpeace representatives and various 
government officials. Campesinos, independent experts and other non-
government organizations were not present.

Sagarpa officials did not return phone calls on Thursday.

Meanwhile, now more than one month after the government announced the 
discovery of genetically engineered corn being grown illegally in the state 
of Oaxaca, President Vicente Fox's administration has yet to make public 
how it will respond. Officials from the Interagency Commission on 
Biosecurity and Genetically Modified Organisms (Cibiogem), which is 
evaluating the extent and gravity of the discovery, are not talking to the 
media. 


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