Chapter 5: Enforcing Border Measures: Importation of GMO Soybean Meal from Argentina
Carlos M. Correa1 Requests for the detainment of Argentine soymeal shipments at the ports of Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom, a multi-million dollar claim over royalties and suits filed against European importers are some of the visible facts in an unusual dispute between the US multinational Monsanto on the one hand, and farmers and the Argentine government on the other. Curiously enough, the legal battle takes place in Europe rather than where the exported soybean was grown and processed. This chapter explains the reasons for as well as the possible consequences of this transnational litigation. It illustrates the possible impact on legitimate trade of broad border measures, particularly when applied to alleged patent infringements. THE SEED OF DISCORD Soy-related products (particularly for feed) are Argentina’s main export product to the European market, surpassing meat. Argentine soybeans and their derivates contain genes that were inserted artificially into the seeds in order to confer the plants resistance to glyphosate, a widely used herbicide. These are, hence, by-products of a genetically-modified (GM) soybean. Nowadays, GM soybeans account for over 90 per cent of the total soybean harvest in Argentina. Their rapid and broad dissemination is one of the factors explaining the soybean expansion in Argentina’s agricultural production: the share of soybean in total crops doubled (standing at nearly 50 per cent) between the 1996/97 and 2004/05 81 82 Intellectual property enforcement harvests. In that period, the number of soybean planted hectares rose from 10 000 to over 14 million. Argentina...
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