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6-Regulation: Brazil lower house clears genetically modified soydecree

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TITLE:  Brazil lower house clears genetically modified soy decree
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   May 16, 2003

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Brazil lower house clears genetically modified soy decree

BRASILIA - Brazil's lower house of Congress approved a government decree
authorising the sale of genetically modified soy until March 31, 2004,
instead of Jan. 31 as originally envisaged.

Provisional measure 113 published on March 26, which must still be
approved by Senate upper house, requires all soybeans harvested this year
to carry a label saying that they may contain GM material.

Producers of conventional soy crops, who wish to sell them as such, must
have them certified. The sale of GM soy seed remains banned.

"The decree doesn't allow planting of GM soy but it sets rules for
marketing this year's harvest," said deputy Henrique Fontana from Rio
Grande do Sul state.

Soy harvesting is virtually finished.

The provisional measure aims to legalise the situation in Rio Grande do
Sul, Brazil's No. 3 soy producer, where the state's agricultural
cooperatives federation, Fecoagro, estimates that up to 60 percent of the
crop is genetically modified.

Farmers have ignored rules on GM soy labelling since the decree was
published in March.

The decree prompted the Brazilian unit of U.S. farm products maker
Monsanto Co. (MON.N) to seek royalties for the illegal use of the firm's
genetically modified "Roundup Ready" soybeans in Brazil.

The government has pledged to draft a bill settling the question of GM
crops on a long term basis.