ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

22 January 2002


1. Philippines: Mayor threatens suit vs agri firm for defying moratorium
2. KOREA/USA: GM food to dominate US-Korean trade talks
3. EU/Wales: EU to listen to concerns about GM crops Jan 21 2002


1. Mayor threatens suit vs agri firm for defying moratorium

By Villamor Visaya Jr.
The Philippine Inquirer, January 19, 2002
Inquirer News Service ILAGAN, Isabela

-- Mayor Delfinito Albano has ordered the agricultural firm Monsanto-Philippines here to explain why it defied a local council moratorium on the field trials of the Bacillus thuringiensis-injected corn (Bt-corn) in the town. Albano also asked the firm to stop the tests and uproot the Bt-corn plants in an experimental farm in Barangay Alinguigan 2nd here. He said if the firm ignored the local government's requests, they would file a case against it for defying the moratorium. The Anti-GMO Alliance of Isabela (Agmais), whose members are opposing the Bt-corn field testing in the province, has asked Albano to cut short his two-week ultimatum on Monsanto. But the mayor said he would give Monsanto enough time to submit a "written answer."

He said he is discouraging the church and militant groups that are opposing the tests from uprooting the Bt-corn plants. "If they  (Monsanto) will insist on continuing the (Bt-corn trial), this will be a test case in court," he said. "This issue has put me in a hot seat but I believe they (Monsanto officials) are very professional to answer the issues we have raised," he said.

Earlier, Agmais urged local leaders to order the uprooting of Bt-corn plants that were planted in Barangay Alinguigan 2nd on Dec. 28.

Dr. Victor Alpuerto, Monsanto product development executive, has reiterated an earlier statement that the dry-season field trials in Alinguigan 2nd in Ilagan, Villaluna in Cauayan City and Carulay in Echague town have been approved by the National Committee on Biosafety, the highest regulatory body on the safety of biotechnology. He said their trials are "under the strict monitoring of the Bureau of Plant Industry-Plant Quarantine Service and the local Institutional Biosafety Committee, as prescribed in the approval of the NCBP."

 "While Monsanto understands the concerns of various sectors regarding the field tests, it maintains that it has complied with all the required rulings," said Noel Borlongan, Monsanto-Philippines government and public affairs director.

Even with a resolution from the village leaders and support from farmers, Albano said Monsanto's NCBP permit should not supersede the council resolution on the moratorium. Albano said the firm should convince the councilors to reverse their stand on the moratorium. He expressed fears that protesters would go to the trial site and uproot the plants if Monsanto would not heed his appeal. The councilors authorized Albano to file charges against Monsanto for the "blatant defiance" of the moratorium imposed by the council.

(c)2002 all rights reserved


2. KOREA/USA: GM food to dominate US-Korean trade talks

21 Jan 2002
Source: editorial team

Upcoming talks between the governments of Korea and the US are likely to be dominated by a debate on genetically modified organisms.

The Korean government last year introduced legislation compelling importers of GM corn to indicate GM content on labelling. Jon M. Huntsman, deputy US Trade Representative (USTR), is set to engage in talks with the Korean Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MOAF) today [Monday] and tomorrow about the launch of the labelling system.

Ministry sources are reported to have revealed that Huntsman is expected to call for the Korean government to soften the labelling requirements as the Korean law mandates certificates that verify that the GMO items have been separated from non-GMO ones in each step of production and marketing of the products.

US exporters have allegedly complained that the detailed labelling systemadversely affects their business performance.


3. EU to listen to concerns about GM crops Jan 21 2002

CONCERNS highlighted during the protests in Wales last year against genetically modified crop trials are to be debated in the European Parliament today.

Welsh Euro MP Jill Evans will chair the public debate raising fears from campaigners in Flintshire and Pembrokeshire that GM crop trials would cause contamination.

The conference will hear evidence from Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser whose oilseed rape crop was found to be contaminated with patented genes. The patent holder, Monsanto Canada, successfully sued Mr Schmeiser for illegally using its patented invention. US farmers Tom and Gail Wiley will tell how their crop of conventional soya beans was found to be contaminated with GM soya, resulting in lost contracts to sell identity-preserved soya.

Speaking from Brussels Ms Evans, who is leader of Plaid Cymru in the European Parliament, said, "This is a bizarre situation. Everybody would expect that conventional or organic farmers whose harvest has been contaminated by GMOs should be able to claim compensation for any financial losses they suffer.

"In fact, the legal situation seems to be quite different. This raises particular concerns for farmers producing for the organic or GMO-free markets in Wales.

"It also seems that companies may, on the basis of their GM crop patents, prevent farmers from replanting seeds which are contaminated by a patented GM crop. Farmers who refuse to do so would obviously face massive actions for damages.

"We urgently need legally binding measures which effectively prevent GM contamination and therefore ensure the consumers, and the operators, freedom of choice - the freedom not to use GMOs."

Ms Evans will be joined by delegates from Wales at the public debate arranged by the Greens/EFA group.

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