Monsanto asks Brazil GM-soy exporters to pay royalty
Tuesday May 20, 6:42 pm ET
WASHINGTON, May 20 (Reuters) - Exporters selling genetically modified soybeans from Brazil may be asked to buy a license from Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON - News), the developer of the variety, or "be subject to enforcement actions," the firm said on Tuesday.
Monsanto said the proposal was an attempt to end piracy of its technology. Growers in the United States and elsewhere pay a fee for use of Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" soybeans.
According to the American Soybean Association, growers in Brazil save 41 U.S. cents to 95 cents a bushel in production costs because they pay no fees. Brazil has not approved use of GMO soybeans but there are estimates that up to 30 percent of its soybean plantings are of the Roundup Ready variety.
The soybeans are genetically enhanced to tolerate herbicides, which results in better weed control and higher yields.
"Our plan will allow the export of Roundup Ready soybeans from Brazil by those who choose to execute an agreement acknowledging our intellectual property rights," Monsanto Vice President Carl Casale said in testimony prepared for a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing.
Casale said the agreement would "provide fair compensation to Monsanto." Exporters and importers would need to acquire "this fee-bearing license ... if the beans they are shipping from Brazil include above threshold quantities of Roundup Ready soybeans," he said.
"Traders who elect not to secure a license will be subject to enforcement actions. There are a myriad of procedures available to insure fair enforcement," Casale said.
In addition, Monsanto would not introduce other biotech varieties to Brazil "until intellectual property rights are respected and effectively enforced," Casale added.
Subcommittee chairman Norm Coleman, Minnesota Republican, said the current situation was unacceptable. It gives Brazil's farmers a cost advantage over U.S. farmers and violated Monsanto's property rights, he said.