May 3, 2006


India may exempt refined soyoil import from new GM rules



India is likely to give a blanket permission for the import of GM soyoil, provided it belongs to a particular GM type, a senior government official said Tuesday (May 2).


"Importers have claimed that the bulk of the imports of soyoil belong to a single type of GM soybean " said the official.


"If this turns out to be correct, we will allow imports of soyoil extracted from the specific type and clearance will not have to be sought on a cargo-by-cargo basis," he added.


The official said the government is also considering exemption for refined soyoil from rules on imports of GM products.


The issue came up for discussion Tuesday during a meeting of the government's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC).


The official said importers may only have to produce a certificate indicating the specific GM type of soyoil cargo and its country of origin.


He said the guidelines to regulate the import of GM soyoil are expected to be ready within a month.


The procedures to regulate GM products in several South East Asian soyoil consuming countries will be used as a basis for framing the guidelines.


"Till the guidelines are framed, shipments can be cleared on a case-by-case basis," the official said.


The GEAC is not keen on giving any further time to the importers once the guidelines have been framed. But the Commerce Ministry wants to first notify the World Trade Organization of the new regulations, the official said.


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