Brazil issues rule facilitating U.S. GMO soy imports, ministry says

FILE PHOTO: Soybean plantation is seen in Rio Verde, Goias state, Brazil January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Roberto Gomes

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil’s agriculture ministry has issued a regulation facilitating imports of genetically modified (GMO) soybeans from the United States, it said in a statement in response to questions from Reuters.

The statement sent late on Thursday said the regulation conferred legal security to imports of grains from the United states “by recognizing the equivalence of genetically modified events approved in the United States and in Brazil”.

Brazil is the world’s top producer exporter of soybeans but this year, local farmers have sold such huge volumes to top importer China that little was left for domestic consumption.

The situation led to price rises for feed for animal farming and meatpacking operations in Brazil, and contributed to food price inflation.

Brazil temporarily suspended import tariffs on corn, soybeans, soymeal, and soyoil from countries outside the South American Mercosur trade bloc in mid-October.

Since then, at least one U.S. soybean cargo was sold to Brazil. The vessel Discoverer, chartered by Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), is due to arrive at Brazil’s Paranaguá port on Nov. 26 carrying 30,000 tonnes, according to latest ship line-up data from maritime agency Cargonave which was updated on Thursday.

The ministry of agriculture’s rule was published in the official gazette on Nov. 4, according to the statement.

Brazil is poised to import 1 million tonnes of soybeans this year, according to a forecast by Brazil’s oilseeds crushing group Abiove, the highest volume since at least 2008.

So far this year, Brazil imported 528,000 tonnes of soybeans, mainly from Paraguay, the most since 2014, according to government trade data.

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Jane Merriman and David Evans