(Photo: members of the Argentine delegation at the announcement of the agreement. AgroIndustry secretary Miguel Etchevehere observes the scene)

Buenos Aires, July 1st. The local seed industry is glad about the preliminary free trade agreement between the Mercosur and the European Union. “We must work into long term commitments, promoting the adoption of international standards, implementing the agreements already firmed and ratified by Argentina, which preserves the intellectual property rights”, the Argentine Seed Association (ASA) said in a press release after to know the agreement. “This will bring certainty to future investments and development by the seed industry, that will provide the ultimate technologies for the farm production”, the statement added.

The agreement draft published by the European Trade Commission stressed the aspects related to the IPR (intellectual property rights) including the plant varieties issues.

“For the first time, the EU and Mercosur will have a structured bilateral framework with clear legal commitments and opportunities
to discuss issues relating to IPR in detail. The chapter includes comprehensive provisions addressing the full spectrum of IPR, including copyright, trademarks, industrial designs and plant varieties”, the draft stresses.

“On Plant varieties, the Parties agreed to cooperate on promoting the protection of plant varieties as set out under the aegis of the two versions of the multilateral Treaty regarding the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV ACT)”, the text continues.

Argentina is still under the UPOV 78 treaty, but some sectors in the country promote the adhesion to the UPOV 91, that enforce the IPR, limiting the “farmers privilege”, or the farmers’ chance to save seed from one season to the other without paying royalties to the breeding companies.

This year, the Government failed to pass a bill amending the old 1973 Plant Breeders Act. Some global seeds companies are refusing to bring its ultimates technologies to the country unless a more restrictive legal framework is approved by Congress.