GENET archive


2-Plants: Brazil authorizes GE soy in 2005 - China blocks imports

                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  GM-Free Brazil
SOURCE: Campaign For a GM-Free Brazil Brazil
DATE:   14 Jan 2005

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Periodical news & analysis of the Campaign For a GM-Free Brazil
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, January 14, 2005
After being interrupted for almost a year, the bulletin GM-FREE BRAZIL
is back to notify and analyse the transgenic polemics in Brazil

The controversy of the National Technical Biosafety Committee (CTNBio)

The National Technical Biosafety Committee (CTNBio), which is the forum
responsible for the evaluation and approval of genetically modified
organisms (GMOs) in diverse areas of activity (human and animal health,
agriculture and the environment) in Brazil and also for the elaboration
of the National Code for Ethics in Genetic Manipulations, is revealing
itself as an organ full of controversy. Actually, it has been polemics
since its creation in 1996. It all started with its members composition,
supposedly to be scientific, not political or commercial. However,
considering its latest decisions, it is becoming more than clear that the
interests there protected seem to be less scientific or regarding our
safety than commercial. The latest decision-making of the Committee
related to the transgenic cotton is here to prove it. Last December,
after a week of meetings, the CTNBio decided to allow the producers to
commercialise cottonseeds with a maximum of 1% of transgenic
contamination. The resolution is totally anti-scientific, as it wasn't
carried out any tests capable to certify that the modified seeds wouldn't
represent risks to the population or to the environment, and not even
details of origin, extension and localization of the contamination were
submitted to the Committee. Still, the determination also meant an
illegal action. According to the Brazilian legislation, it is a legal
duty of Ibama (the supervisor body of the Environment Ministry) to demand
a particular environmental license previously to this kind of releases.
Hence, the decision of the CTNBio wouldn't be able to proportionate any
practical results. The judicial dilemma involving the autonomy of the
Committee is another issue that was totally ignored in this case. Since
1998, there is a judicial action on the Brazilian Court concerning the
Committee's independence or its subordination to other ministries. Until
the Court renders a judgment on this case, the CTNBio is not allowed to
have powers of decision-making. The way things were conducted by the
Committee on this case is another demonstration that this forum must not
be the final instance of decision on the issue of the transgenic in
Brazil. However, that is how the Senate elaborated the Biosafety Plan,
making the CTNBio capable of decision-making on any case involving
transgenic crops and seeds, without interferences. The challenge now is
to recuperate the version made by the Chamber of the Deputies that keeps
the Committee under the control of the ministries before the final round
of voting, expected to happen either in February or April.

Provisory Measure frees, once more, another transgenic Soya harvest in Brazil

President Lula just signed the Provisory Measure (MP in Portuguese) that
frees the transgenic Soya harvest for the year 2005. The new regulation
makes it is possible to commercialize the transgenic crops cultivated
until the end of 2004. Although the law establishes that the producers
will have to sign a responsibility term to adjust the harvest to the
Brazilian environmental law, it paves a way of illegality once it
releases the producers that did not sign the term for the crops
commercialized in 2004. In other words, even the ones that did not
cultivate the transgenic seeds in 2003 will be free to cultivate them now
as there is no need to present the previous document as evidence. The
government proceeds, little by little, in a way that the only possible
consequence is the spreading of the contaminated seeds in the country.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, we already have an area of 2,78
million hectares with transgenic crops. This is equivalent to 13,2% of
the total area of Soya harvest in Brazil. Following what happened in the
beginning of 2003, when president Lula signed the first MP liberating the
transgenic Soya harvest, once again, the government acts to legalize the
illegal Soya crops, ironically without any biosafety worries, which
should be the role played by the CTNBio.

GM-FREE BRAZIL - An international periodical news & analysis bulletin on
the developments of the struggle against GMOs in Brazil. Published by
Assessoria e Serviços a Projetos em Agricultura Alternativa (AS-PTA).
Editor: Sabrina Petry. The Campaign For a GM-Free Brazil is a collective
of Brazilian NGOs and social movements. AS-PTA main Office: Rua da
Candelária, 9/6o / Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Phone: 0055-21-2253-
8317 Fax: 0055-21-2233-363 E-mail:

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

TITLE:  China Stops Taking Applications To Import Brazil's Soybeans
SOURCE: AG Professional, USA
DATE:   13 Jan 2005

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China Stops Taking Applications To Import Brazil's Soybeans

The Brazilian government has failed to issue safety assurance documents
to international trading houses for soybean exports to China, prompting
the Chinese government to stop accepting applications for export licenses
for Brazilian soybeans, a senior Chinese agricultural official said,
according to a Dow Jones report.

Exports license for Brazil-origin soybeans expired Dec. 31 and
international trading houses haven't been able to export Brazilian
soybeans to China since as they have to apply for new documents.

According to the official at the GMO Safety Regulations Office under
China's Ministry of Agriculture, the Chinese government will accept
applications to import Brazilian soybeans after the Brazilian government
issues the appropriate documents proving the soybeans are safe for human

China adopted strict policies on soybean imports in 2000. International
trading houses must apply to the MOA for licenses for genetically
modified soybean exports to China before signing contracts with Chinese
buyers. However, international trading houses aren't hurrying through the
necessary documentation process this year as Chinese supplies appear
ample for the next two to three months.

A senior trading official at Yellow Sea Grains & Oil Co., one of the four
largest soybean crushers in the eastern province of Shandong, said the
company can import U.S.-origin beans if imports of Brazil-origin beans
don't resume soon.

"A suspension in Brazilian soybean imports is unlikely to worry importers
as long as the U.S. keeps on exporting," the official said. "The U.S.
will be able to supply the world market until March or even April in some
cases, while the newly harvested Brazilian soybeans will hit the market
only in early March."


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
In den Steinäckern 13
D - 38116 Braunschweig

P: +49-531-5168746
F: +49-531-5168747
M: +49-162-1054755
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