SnowBall archive


GE - more news 2nd March

1) The MST (Movement of Landless Peasants in Brazil) has announced that they
will destroy all illegal transgenic crops fields in the State of Rio Grande do
2) NZ University Adds Frog Genes To Salmon 
3) TRIPS Council Moves Slowly on Review of Life Patenting Exemption 

1) The MST (Movement of Landless Peasants in Brazil) has announced that they
will destroy all illegal transgenic crops fields in the State of Rio Grande do
Today they are destroying the first one in Rondinha. 
[sorry we have no more information about this as yet - GEN]
> Gazeta Mercantil, Brazil 
> Page: B-20 
> February 18, 1999
> Monsanto will start selling Roundup Ready hybrid soybean seeds in Brazil 
> as of the 2nd semester of 1999. It has sown seeds in the states of Rio 
> Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goias. The company aims to 
> introduce the new product gradually - the initial plan is to make it 
> represent between 2% and 4% of the country's soybean plantation. Monsanto 
> will invest US$550mil to build a raw material plant in Bahia. It 
> inaugurated in July, 1998 a genetic development plant in Goias that 
> costed nearly US$7mil. It has also been investing US$10mil to build a 
> soybean seeds processing plant in Rio Grande do Sul which will be 
> inaugurated between April and May, 1999.

> Feb 22/99 
> Reuters Sao Paulo
> Agricultural Secretary Jose Hermeto Hoffamann of Brazil's second-largest 
> soybean-producing state Rio Grande do Sul was cited as saying the state 
> is trying to ban planting of genetically modified soybeans produced by a 
> local unit of Monsanto Co., adding, "We have decided that they should be 
> prohibited. What we are doing now is looking into the ways that this 
> legally can be done." The story notes that Brazil broke from its historic 
> ban on transgenic crops last September by officially recognizing 
> Monsanto's herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready seeds as safe. But Hoffamann 
> was cited as saying the federal government's decision did not reflect the 
> wishes of producers in Rio Grande do Sul, who fear they may lose sales to 
> transgenic-wary European markets with the introduction of Roundup Ready, 
> and that the state saw an opportunity to create a speciality market with 
> the transgenic-free soybean crop, which would help offset shrinking 
> profit margins as world prices slide.

2) NZ University Adds Frog Genes To Salmon 
Sunday, 21 February 1999, 2:42 pm 
Press Release: Green Party

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP 
Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand 
21 February 1999 
Canterbury University is spending $142,000 to create mutant salmon, 
including some with frog genes. 
Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, who issued details of the work 
today, said it was the first example of genetic engineering of marine 
species she had discovered in New Zealand. 
"Salmon are migratory fish and I am deeply concerned that this tampering 
work will eventually transfer gene pollution to the oceans," she said. 
"It will mean no corner of the world will be free of it. 
"There are ethical questions about crossing two non-related animals in 
this way, plus an issue of human health. The toad and frog genes selected 
in this type of experiment produce natural antibiotics. No-one knows how 
these will affect people who eat mutant salmon." 
Ms Fitzsimons said New Zealand was becoming one of the genetic 
engineering centres of the world, and a principal advocate for the 
"In the last few days at international genetic engineering protocol talks 
in Colombia - a spin-off from the 1992 Earth Summit - New Zealand sided 
with the United States and its big gene tampering firms, and opposed 
concerns of developing countries," she said. 
"Developing nations feared genetically engineered crops could have 
devastating effects on their rich biological diversity, cultural 
traditions and traditional agriculture." 
For example, Tewolde Gebre Egziabher, Ethiopia's chief environmental 
official, said: "Our knowledge of these things is too scanty. Until 
proven not dangerous, they must be presumed dangerous." 
"New Zealand to its shame opposed such a sensible view," Ms Fitzsimons 
said. "Unlike cautious European countries, we have become the 
mutant-making hand-maiden to big US companies like Monsanto."
Received: 01.03 11:50 Uhr 
From: GRAIN Los Banos, 
BIO-IPR docserver 
3) TRIPS Council Moves Slowly on Review of Life Patenting Exemption 
AUTHOR: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development 
PUBLICATION: BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 3, Number 7 
DATE: 22 February, 1999 
URL: <> 

Meeting on 17 February, the TRIPs Council once again turned its 
attention to the review of Article 27.3 (b) of the Agreement on Trade- 
Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which allows certain 
plant and animal inventions to be exempt from patent protection. (See 
also BRIDGES Between Trade and Sustainable Development, Vol. 2, No. 8, 
p. 3). 
The approach to the issue within the TRIPs Council continues to focus 
on "information-gathering," and input so far has almost exclusively 
consisted of replies to a list of questions on how plant and animal 
inventions are handled in domestic laws. Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech 
Republic, the EU and several of its members, Hungary, Japan, the U.S. 
and Zambia have so far submitted this information. Several other 
Members, as well as FAO and the secretariat of the CBD have said that 
they will also submit information. The WTO secretariat is expected to 
prepare a summary of the responses received for the next meeting of the 
TRIPs Council, in April.
Despite the gentle pace of the review so far, it is well known that 
proponents of removing all exeptions to patenting requirements (U.S. 
and European industry for instance), and supporters of extending the 
exeption to all life forms are lurking in the wings prepared to push 
their point of view forwards. Some observers believe that the 1999 
review will consist solely of the information-gathering exercise 
underway, with negotiation of the real issues carried over into the 
round of trade negotiations due to be launched at the Third WTO 
Ministerial at the end of this year.
The TRIPs Council last week also discussed other subjects including: 
geographical indications, "non-violation" complaints, how countries are 
applying the "mailbox" and exclusive marketing rights provisions of the 
TRIPs Agreeement (Arts. 70.8 and 70.9), and incentives for technology 
transfer to least developed countries as required under Article 66.2 of 
the Agreement. The TRIPs Council also elected its new Chair for 1999: 
Ambassador Carlos Pérez del Castillo of Uruguay thus replaces Hungary's 
Ambasador, István Major. 
"TRIPS Council 17 February 1999 - US, Japan submit proposal on 
geographical indications," WTO BACKGROUND NOTE, 22 Feb. 1999; ICTSD 
Internal Files.