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View Full Version : US pressures El Salvador to buy Monsanto's GMO seeds



antimony
11 Jun 14,, 19:37
If this is true, it is taking crony capitalism and corporate-government thuggery to new heights

http://rt.com/usa/165128-us-pressures-salvador-monsanto-gmo/


As one of the preconditions to authorizing close to $300 million in aid, the United States is pressuring El Salvador to purchase genetically modified seeds from Monsanto instead of non-GM seeds from local farmers.

According to Sustainable Pulse, a website covering developments related to genetically modified organisms and sustainable agriculture, the US will reportedly withhold $277 million in aid through the Millennium Challenge Compact if El Salvador refuses to purchase GM seeds from the biotech company Monsanto.

Albany Rifles
11 Jun 14,, 21:21
So, Antimony...a report which is negative towards the US government from RT news.

Shocking.

And this is really about US aid money, correct?

Here is a little bit of news...US aid money comes with strings attached. You have to use it to buy from American firms.

That's the law.

And not everyone is against GMO food.

So, if you want the aid you have to play by the rules of the law.

If you don't want the aid under those condictions then you are free to seek it elsewhere.

Sorry, but I am not seeing a bad guy here.

SteveDaPirate
11 Jun 14,, 21:50
I believe this is how U.S. military aid to Egypt, Israel, etc. works as well. You get a grant you can use to buy military hardware, so long as it comes from Boeing, Lockheed, or some other American manufacturer. It would be rather awkward to explain to the tax payers if the U.S. government gave $500 million to Iraq and they turned around and passed it to Sukhoi in exchange for Su-35s. For some reason the U.S. government isn't interested in using tax dollars to fund the competition.

antimony
11 Jun 14,, 22:46
So, Antimony...a report which is negative towards the US government from RT news.

Shocking.


Which is why I said "If true". If indeed it is true, why should the source matter? I think at WAB we are mature enough to distill the facts from the opinions



And this is really about US aid money, correct?

Here is a little bit of news...US aid money comes with strings attached. You have to use it to buy from American firms.

That's the law.

And not everyone is against GMO food.


And here it is being used to push something that is widely reviled and is possibly against local Salvadorian laws.



So, if you want the aid you have to play by the rules of the law.

If you don't want the aid under those conditions then you are free to seek it elsewhere.

Sorry, but I am not seeing a bad guy here.

This makes e really sad, that countries are desperate enough to actually take this "aid" however much it harms them.

While we are at it, why does the US raise a hue and cry when the Chinese government support Chinese companies to buy US assets?

Doktor
11 Jun 14,, 23:56
US doesn't have other companies who can help countries which for whatever reasons banned GMO food/seeds?

troung
12 Jun 14,, 01:38
Why are we giving away tax payer money to that cesspool anyways?

kato
12 Jun 14,, 02:58
US doesn't have other companies who can help countries which for whatever reasons banned GMO food/seeds?
All the US companies that export in such amounts trade in both GMO and non-GMO seeds. That's not the problem here.

The problem is that, basically, Monsanto - or DuPont for that matter - are able to outbid pretty much everyone else in open competition, if necessary by taking a hit. And they will do so offering a GMO seed from their portfolio.

citanon
12 Jun 14,, 03:35
This makes e really sad, that countries are desperate enough to actually take this "aid" however much it harms them.

How does it harm them? Those seeds are called improved for a reason.

kato
12 Jun 14,, 12:34
They're not called "improved", they're called "modified". Modified to better survive herbicide treatment for example. Or to be resistant to certain insects plagueing that crop. GMO crops typically have lower yields though. A USDA study a couple months ago came to the estimation that regarding yield GMO crops net returns are near-equivalent. Environmental damage is also virtually the same, with insecticide use going down with GMO - but herbicide use going up. The yield situation might change to the detriment of GMO crops though, as weeds are becoming increasingly resistant to Monsanto's Roundup due to its increased use.

Furthermore, since GMO seeds are patented, you permanently tie yourself to a single company to provide your seeds, provide your pesticides and so on. Because of course a Monsanto seed will be resistant to a Monsanto herbicide. GMO seed prices in the USA were initially subsidized by the companies in order to offer them at the price of regular seed, but interestingly since then have risen to current levels where equivalent GMO seeds (and the regular seeds sold by the same companies) easily cost 50% more.

Albany Rifles
12 Jun 14,, 17:43
Not being overly simplistic but….if Monsanto won the contract, they won the contract.

Can the customer of the aid negotiate a different deal? Not sure what the law says.

Are there some issues with GMO? Could be. But do we just derail the possibility without further research? Don’t want to do that.

And the entire program runs up against market forces the operations of the US market economy. Do some research on the this year’s Agriculture Bill (which covers this program and others like it) and show me how there can be an easy way ahead.


All that said this thread started out with a broadbrush attack that the US government was strong arming El Salvadoran farmers.

That is not the case.

kato
12 Jun 14,, 18:47
if Monsanto won the contract, they won the contract.
They didn't win any contract - there hasn't been any contract bidding yet. Basically, the US side is apparently trying to strongarm the Salvadorian government into opening the bidding equally for "international companies". It's just that everyone presumes Monsanto would win this if they were allowed to compete.

In my opinion they could of course just let US companies compete, and slip in a line in the tender that they want non-GMO seeds only. However, the anti-GMO crowd would see any sort of buy from Monsanto - or another of the big GMO producers - as supporting those companies and their evil work, regardless which products the contract itself would specify.


But do we just derail the possibility without further research?
On an unrelated note, the European Union just yesterday made it possible for its members to legally ban GMO crops based on public opinion instead of having to bring up scientific facts supporting the ban. Which neither side is happy with, so it's a good deal.

Albany Rifles
12 Jun 14,, 20:57
Kato,

I believe the law and the Agriculture Bill states the business has to go to a majority US company.

As stated much of our aid is tied to that aid being spent on a American products.

As an American taxpayer I can see the value in that seeing as it helps American jobs.

as for GMOs themselves...I am ambivalent.

And if the market place drives them out so be it.

I will say in the county where I live and the curroundign counties there is a strong preference for GMO crops as it has resulted in better corn, soy, cotton and peanut yield. Not my opinion but the info put out by out county extension agent.

kato
12 Jun 14,, 21:50
I believe the law and the Agriculture Bill states the business has to go to a majority US company.
Looked a bit closer into the matter. Here's a timeline, as far as i can construct it:

by early September 2013, the MCC Compact was fully approved by the MCC Board (see: MCC Board Approves Compact with El Salvador, Discusses Transparency and Open Data | Millennium Challenge Corporation (http://www.mcc.gov/pages/press/release/release-091213-mcc-board-approves) )
by late September 2013, the parliament of El Salvador banned a number of pesticidies from use in the country, mostly those to which Monsanto-built GMOs are immune (incl. RoundUp)
by December 2013, the MCC Compact suddenly came under reform preconditions (see: Millennium Challenge Corporation Stalls on Compact Signing | EcoViva :: Community-led Initiatives for a Sustainable Future (http://vivaecoviva.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/millennium-challenge-corporation-stalls-on-compact-signing/) ), mostly apparently regarding transparency and conditions with regard to the public-private-partnerships (which are a core component to MCC*)
following this, a number of limited political reforms were made to the laws addressed (not to the full extent the US wanted)
in January 2014, the El Salvadorian center-left majority in parliament passed a motion allowing the Ministry of Agriculture to buy seed outside the regularly prescribed procurement procedures, purchasing directly from domestic producers instead of holding a Free-Trade-Zone-wide tender.
by April 2014, the decision to withhold the MCC Compact was reaffirmed citing non-compliance with CAFTA DR with regard to the action in January (see: http://elsalvadorsolidarity.org/index.php/human-rights/69-sister-cities-programs/human-rights/latest-human-rights-news-el-salvador/585-millenium-challenge-corporation-says-el-salvador-does-not-yet-meet-requirements-to-receive-funds )

The MCC Compact itself has nothing to do with buying seed or anything like that. For a summary of the Compact see: http://www.mcc.gov/documents/cn/cn-09192013-el_salvador%282%29.pdf

* interestingly that was not relevant for the previous MCC Compact with El Salvador running from 2007 to 2012.

antimony
14 Jun 14,, 00:42
All that said this thread started out with a broadbrush attack that the US government was strong arming El Salvadoran farmers.


The US government deserves to be attacked for playing into the hands of Corporate lobbyists. How many sectors have we seen this in? We have the mockery of net neutrality in the FCC, we have the GM ignition switches issue, we have ex-Monsanto Execs and lobbyists appointed to the FDA. In a number of important sectors the US government has done the equivalent of putting a fox in charge of the hen-house.

tantalus
17 Jun 14,, 16:12
On an unrelated note, the European Union just yesterday made it possible for its members to legally ban GMO crops based on public opinion instead of having to bring up scientific facts supporting the ban. Which neither side is happy with, so it's a good deal.
Not sure why you would describe that as a good deal?

Public opinion over scientific facts, not a good micro management strategy.

Monsanto are trying to push their GM products into regions that are resisting them. A lot of money at stake here. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the products per se, just that there may be something wrong with how Monsanto et al. markets them.

Albany Rifles
17 Jun 14,, 17:28
The US government deserves to be attacked for playing into the hands of Corporate lobbyists. How many sectors have we seen this in? We have the mockery of net neutrality in the FCC, we have the GM ignition switches issue, we have ex-Monsanto Execs and lobbyists appointed to the FDA. In a number of important sectors the US government has done the equivalent of putting a fox in charge of the hen-house.

So you don't like it...then vote in a different Congressmen and Senators to make the changes you want.