GENET archive


6-Regulation: Cartagena Protocol negotiations on documention requirements for GMO shipments

                                 PART I
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TITLE:  Brazil backs stronger GMO export labeling -ministry
SOURCE: Reuters
DATE:   14 Mar 2006

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Brazil backs stronger GMO export labeling -ministry

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) - Brazilian exports of genetically modified
organisms, such as soybeans, will bear the label "contains GMOs" within
four years, the environment ministry said late Monday.

Brazil's support of the stronger labeling position marks a shift in its
position from the weaker "may contain GMOs" -- as is called for by a U.N.
treaty, the Cartagena Protocol.

Brazil signed the Cartagena Protocol, which went into effect in 2003 and
aims for greater transparency and control of global GMO trade.

Over 130 other countries signed the treaty and are meeting this week in
Curitiba, Brazil, to discuss economic liability and documentation of GMO
shipments under the protocol.

Other large GMO exporters, such as the United States, Argentina, Canada
and Australia, have not signed the protocol, fearing that it would allow
importing countries in regions like Europe to use it as a de facto trade

Under the treaty's provisions, a country may reject GMO imports if it
fears they pose a danger to traditional crops, undermine local cultures
or cut the value of biodiversity, even without scientific proof.

Brazil's agricultural sector has been opposed to the stronger wording on
the ground that it may hurt local exports of soybeans or corn to GMO
sensitive countries in Europe, Africa and Asia, as well as raise costs.

But environmentalists and the European Union have been insisting on more
definitive wording on GMO exports.

"The decision of the Brazilian government is a great victory for the
biosafety of the planet," Greenpeace in Brazil said in a statement.

Brazil's environment ministry said President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
reached a decision to support the stronger wording on GMOs with the
environment and agriculture ministries.

Brazil's position will be presented in Curitiba this week.

Under the proposal, Brazil's grain export sector will have four years to
install infrastructure to segregate GMO from conventional grains and set
up GMO labeling and testing procedures. Until that time, "may contain
GMOs" will be used on GMO exports, the environment ministry said.

The protocol applies only to exports and imports and does not apply to
domestic trade in GMOs.

                                 PART II
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TITLE:  NZ blocking international GE agreement, Greens say
SOURCE: New Zealand Press Agency / New Zealand Herald
DATE:   16 Feb 2006

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NZ blocking international GE agreement, Greens say

The Greens are calling for New Zealand to stop being the only country
preventing an international agreement on genetically engineered organisms.

Green Party MP Nandor Tanczos said it was shameful New Zealand had not
signed the Cartagena Protocol, which came into force in 2003.

The protocol required exporters to provide more information about GE
products like maize and soybeans to recipient countries to help them
decide whether to accept them.

Under its provisions, a nation may reject GE crops or seed -- even
without scientific proof -- if it fears they pose a danger to traditional
crops, undermine local cultures or cut the value of biodiversity to
indigenous communities.

Talks are underway this week in Curitiba, Brazil.

"We have been the object of international condemnation for some time for
being on of the countries to block agreement. Now to our shame we stand
alone in wanting to deny developing countries the protection of a robust
international standard," Mr Tanczos said.

"We have strong rules at our own borders but are seeking to deny that to
the countries that cannot afford the kinds of testing regimes we have in
place. It is a shameful stance. "

He said the Government was behaving like an international vandal.

Mr Tanczos earlier said New Zealand was acting on behalf of the United
States which is not a party to the talks.

Yesterday Acting Prime Minister Michael Cullen denied that.

"This Government does not act as a stalking horse for the United States
in any matter at all," said Dr Cullen, who is also acting Foreign Minister.

About 132 countries have signed the treaty, but not the United States,
and it has no vote on issues such as how shipments should be labelled if
they have unintended genetically engineered (GE) content.

Mr Tanczos questioned the Government's motives after NZ and Brazil were
the only countries which stopped 117 other signatories reaching a
consensus on labelling at the previous round of talks in Montreal last
year. Brazil has now changed its position.

Dr Cullen said New Zealand supported meaningful and informative labelling
of GE organisms. "We think it is important to have simple, practical,
workable, and implementable documentation requirements."

Dr Cullen said New Zealand would not support accidental inclusion of GE
content as requiring that content to be listed on the shipment
documentation, because such a provision could catch conventional
agricultural shipments, even of crops produced to organic standards.

Ordinary crops would have to be labelled "may contain living, modified
organisms" because of the remote possibility they might have come into
contact with living, modified organisms, he said.

The Cartagena Protocol, which came into force in 2003, requires exporters
to provide more information about GE products like maize and soybeans to
recipient countries to help them decide whether to accept them.

European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
news & information

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