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Brazil soy industry refuses to collect Monsanto GMO royalties

(Monday, July 14, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Sao Paulo, OsterDowJones: Brazilian soy crushers and exporters will refuse to collect royalties on illegally planted genetically modified Roundup Ready soybeans for biotech giant Monsanto Co., an industry leader said Friday.

"The crushers and exporters are not involved in the illegal planting and we believe it is unfair that we should be used to collect for Monsanto," said Carlo Lovatelli, president of the Brazilian Vegetable Oil Industries Association, or Abiove.

In June, Monsanto said it would expect exporters to sign royalty contracts by July for 2003-04 soy crop shipments. From August, Monsanto warned that Brazilian soy shipments from non-complying exporters could be stopped by customs in countries where Roundup Ready is patented - most European countries, Japan, US and Canada - and treated as pirated produce if genetically modified organism traces are found.

But Lovatelli said none of the Abiove member companies, which make up around 90% of the country's crushing capacity, have signed or will sign. Exporters do not believe Monsanto will have ships stopped, something that very rarely happens at port, he said, adding that importers had told exporters they wouldn't require an accord with Monsanto to do business.

Monsanto chose to charge royalties from next year because of the quick spread of illicit planting in the world's No. 2 soybean producer.

Most of these beans are Roundup Ready, derived from seeds smuggled from Argentina and Paraguay where they are legally planted. A Monsanto spokeswoman said the company would not comment on the matter while talks were ongoing. Lovatelli will meet with Monsanto executives on Thursday, July 17, to discuss the royalties issue. He said Monsanto should be a little more patient as there is a chance the government will legalize GMOs before the next harvest

If Monsanto does try to halt ships or charge royalties, exporters will take them on, he added, noting that the shippers were large multinational firms. Around 35 exporters account for 95% of the Brazil's soy shipments. Monsanto has no patent for Roundup Ready in China, Brazil's main soy market, which accounts for around a third of bean exports."