20 August 2003 21:52 [Source: ICIS news]
SAO PAULO (CNI)--Genetically modified (GM) soy will not be legalised for the upcoming planting season, a spokesperson for Brazilian Civil Chief-of-staff Jose Dirceu confirmed Wednesday.
Dirceu said that the executive branch is completing the final draft of a bill regulating GM organisms, which will be presented to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva today and to the Congress later this week or earlier next week.
The final decision regarding whether Brazil will legalise GM organisms will be made by the president, Dirceu said.
The president has spoken publicly about the matter in recent days and has indicated that he will reluctantly endorse the bill, which will approve GM products.
Once the bill is presented to Congress, however, it is expected to take more than three months to win approval - well after the spring planting has been completed.
Despite apparent presidential approval, the government remains divided, with the Agricultural Ministry favouring GM legalisation and the Environmental Ministry coming out against it. Likewise, several congressmen from the president's Worker's Party have come out against the legalisation of GM organisms.
Analysts expect the bill to include strict labelling provisions and to create a new government agency that will monitor GM organisms.
A federal judge in Brazil suspended an injunction that prohibited the sale of Monsanto’s GM soy last week, but several non-government agencies, including Greenpeace, have promised to appeal the decision.
Brazilian soy farmers planted 3m hectares of GM soy during last year’s harvest, despite legal restrictions against GM product in Brazil.
Earlier this year, the president issued a decree that gave amnesty to all GM soy produced in Brazil.
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