About 60% of Brazil's grain exports are genetically modified
(soybean, corn and cotton), representing more than 220 million tons. The technology of genetically modified crops is constantly evolving and new products are submitted every year to the National Technical Commission on Biosafety (CTNBio) for approval for commercial use. Exports of these products depend on ongoing monitoring that prevent unjustifiable barriers, based on socio-economic considerations or risk assessments without scientific criteria, which would endanger the industry. It is worth noting that agribusiness was the only sector to register a surplus during the crisis of the past years.
Signed within the scope of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety aims to ensure an adequate level of protection in the transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, taking into account risks to human health, and focussing on transboundary movements.
The Protocol entered into force on September 11, 2003. In its general provisions (Article 2), it establishes that each Party will adopt administrative and legal measures for the implementation of its obligations under that international instrument.
The scope of application of the Protocol is limited to aspects related to the cross-border movement of LMOs (Article 4), except for pharmaceutical products intended for human consumption (Article 5). The Protocol leaves internal regulation of the LMOs to domestic legislation.
Brazil became a party to this agreement on February 22, 2004. Brazil occupies a unique position in biotechnology because it is a megadiverse country, producer of LMOs and the largest agricultural exporter to accede to the Cartagena Protocol. Brazil's participation in this forum takes into account not only the need for biodiversity conservation and respect for human health, but also Brazilian technological and commercial interests, aimed at avoiding the imposition of non-tariff barriers and undesirable asymmetries of competitiveness in relation to exporters that are not parties to the agricultural instrument (Argentina, USA, Canada, Australia, among others).