GENET archive


4-Patents: South American ministers reject Monsanto soy royalty plan

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  South American Ministers Reject Monsanto Soy Royalty Plan
SOURCE: Reuters, by Hilary Burke
DATE:   4 Apr 2005

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South American Ministers Reject Monsanto Soy Royalty Plan

BUENOS AIRES - Farm ministers from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay -- the
world's top soybean exporters behind the United States -- on Friday
shunned a bid by US biotech pioneer Monsanto to charge royalties on
genetically modified soybeans when they are harvested.

Royalties "should only be charged when farmers buy seeds," said a
statement issued by Argentina after a special meeting of the Southern
Agricultural Council in Cartagena, Colombia at the request of Argentine
Agriculture Secretary Miguel Campos.

The meeting arose from a protracted battle between Argentina and Monsanto
over GMO soy royalties. Chile's Agriculture Minister Jaime Campos also
attended, as did lower-level Uruguayan and Bolivian officials.

Monsanto officials in Buenos Aires declined to comment. The St. Louis,
Missouri-based company wants Argentine farmers to pay technology fees for
its herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready soybeans.

The statement did not refer specifically to soybeans, and could include
other crops such as wheat.

Argentina approved Roundup Ready soy for planting in 1996 and Monsanto
used to embed the royalties charge into soybean seed prices.

But because the black market for soy seeds is so great, the company
stopped selling such seeds altogether in 2003. Many other companies
continue to sell soy seeds containing Roundup Ready genes, however,
paying licensing fees to Monsanto.

Only 20 percent of Argentina's $1 billion, annual soybean seed trade is legal.


Months-long talks to set royalties collapsed last month when Monsanto
warned Argentine exporters it aimed to impose a $15-per-tonne fine on
Argentine shipments of Roundup Ready beans in European nations where the
gene is patented.

In February, the firm had proposed a $1-per-tonne charge on Argentine soy
and soy derivatives in 2005, rising to $2.50 per tonne between 2006 and 2011.

Argentina's Campos responded by threatening to take Monsanto to court if
it levies fines in European ports.

Campos, who insists technology fees should be charged as part of the seed
price, rallied five neighboring countries to his side. South American
officials "urged farmers in the region to reject accords to pay any kind
of royalties compensation on harvested grains," the statement said.

Last month, farmers in Paraguay agreed to pay royalties to Monsanto for
Roundup Ready soybeans grown this season. But the company has yet to
reach a national accord in Brazil, where GMO crops were just recently

Argentina has drafted a legislative bill to crack down on the illegal
seed trade.

On Thursday, Campos met in Colombia with US Agriculture Secretary Mike
Johanns, who expressed concern over Argentina's lack of royalties
payments, according to a statement issued afterward by Argentina's
Agriculture Secretariat.

Johanns said this puts US farmers who pay royalties at a competitive
disadvantage. But the Secretariat statement said Campos replied that US
subsidies on farm production and exports are even less fair.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Argentine farmers head to Europe in Monsanto fight
SOURCE: St. Louis Business Journal, USA
DATE:   28 Mar 2005

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Report: Argentine farmers head to Europe in Monsanto fight

A group of Argentine farmers plans to travel to the European Union next
week to prevent Monsanto Co. from forcing them to pay royalties on its
soybean seeds, according to published reports.

The farmers, backed by Greenpeace, say they are traveling to Europe to
prevent the agricultural giant from using European courts to break
Argentine laws, the reports said. They plan to tell the European Patent
Office that because Monsanto doesn't have a patent on Roundup Ready soy
in Argentina, it should not be able to collect royalties on soy imported
into Europe from Argentina.

Earlier this month, the company's Argentine unit said it planned to
charge $15 per ton on shipments of Roundup Ready soy from Argentina in
countries where its seeds are patented. The company has patents on its
Roundup Ready soy in five European countries, which together imported
more than 9 million tons of Argentine soybean products last year.

Monsanto stopped selling the Roundup Ready soybean seeds in Argentina
last year because it was unable to collect royalties and said the
business was unprofitable. The company has been unable to obtain a patent
on its soy, so most farmers use it without paying royalties.

Argentina is the world's third-largest soybean producer behind the United
States and Brazil. An estimated 95 percent of the crop in Argentina is
planted from genetically modified seeds, most of which are bought in the
black market.

St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) develops insect- and herbicide-
resistant crops and other agricultural products.


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