While Canada does not export much corn, they’re concerned about biotech crop limitations,reports Bloomberg: “Canada is the world’s top producer and exporter of canola, a genetically-modified crop that is used in everything from deep-frying to salad dressing, with Mexico one of the top buyers.”
Mexico remains defiant: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who proposed a ban starting next year, continues to claim biotech corn poses risks, without citing any evidence. “If there is no agreement, we’ll go to a [USMCA] panel,” he told the AP on Tuesday.
BIO’s take: Mexico and the United States must uphold “the science-based trading system and obligations to which both our countries committed,” said Nancy Travis, BIO’s VP for International Affairs. The ban would “have a devastating impact on the agricultural innovation needed to achieve our climate goals and ensure we can meet the world’s growing demand for food.”
What’s next: Article 9.19.3 of the USMCA stipulates that a meeting for technical consultation shall occur within 30 days of the formal request and a resolution of the dispute within 180 days. The U.S. and Canada now await meetings with Mexico’s officials.
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Witnesses discussed the misguided COVID IP waiver—which Rep. Issa called “essentially a transfer of technology to China and other countries,” echoing BIO on the fact that the waiver was not needed.
Avoiding unforced errors at home: Rep. Deborah Ross, who represents North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, expressed concern that weakened IP protections here at home, have placed American innovators at a competitive disadvantage. She highlighted continued uncertainty surrounding patent eligibility for some cutting-edge innovations that received patent protection in China and the European Union but not in the United States.
China’s judicial system includes 2,000 IP judges handling 600,000 cases a year. While these courts often protect non-Chinese patent holders, they also represent a long-term goal of dominating global patent decisions, warned Berkley Law Prof. Mark Cohen.
The context: The World Trade Organization (WTO) is considering extending the COVID IP waiver to therapeutics; the U.S. urged the WTO to delay the deadline to decide and is currently accepting comments. BIO’s keeping an eye on the issue.
Reshma Kewalramani is CEO and President at Vertex, which develops new medicines for cystic fibrosis (CF) patients.
President Biden’s Thursday: Releasing his 2024 budget proposal, which faces an uphill battle in Congress. There are already reasons for concern about “de facto rationing of therapies through drug-price controls,” per The Wall Street Journal.
What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The House Appropriations Committee will hold an oversight hearing with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General. The House Committee on Agriculture will hold a hearing on its own budget.
Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
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