Reality-Check
July 2, 2014
Monsanto, El Salvador, Seeds and U.S. Foreign Aid Policy: The Facts

Several articles have recently appeared online reporting false information about the U.S. Government’s aid agreement with El Salvador. These articles incorrectly implicate Monsanto in the agreement. They state that the U.S. government is pressuring El Salvador to purchase genetically modified (GMO) seeds from U.S. agricultural companies, particularly Monsanto.

This is blatantly false. And it is yet another example of an issue that has been laid at Monsanto’s door with no regard to facts, relevance or reality.

So what is actually going on?

The U.S. government, through the independent U.S. foreign aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), is in the process of signing a 5-year grant agreement with El Salvador. Known as a “Compact”, this is the second agreement between the MCC and El Salvador, and it is aimed at improving El Salvador’s competitiveness and productivity in international markets.

When the MCC’s Board approved the Second Compact for El Salvador in September 2013, it was on several conditions. These conditions, agreed to by the El Salvadorian government through an action plan, included the El Salvadorian government continuing to strengthen the investment climate and rule of law on areas such as respect for judicial independence, combatting money laundering, and effectively implementing its trade commitments.

Concern over the implementation of trade commitments is the issue. Not GM seeds. In particular, concerns that the Government of El Salvador’s procurement program is not being conducted in a manner that complies with El Salvador’s obligations under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).

You can read the full text of the U.S government’s statement on the issue (released through the U.S embassy in El Salvador) here, but to quote some key points from the statement:

– “We are asking the Government of El Salvador to implement the procurement program for corn and bean seeds in a competitive, objective, and transparent manner that demonstrates to all stakeholders both El Salvador’s commitment to the CAFTA-DR, as well as its commitment to good governance.”

– “The U.S. government concern with the Ministry of Agriculture’s procurement program is completely unrelated to the purchase of genetically modified seeds. Any rumor to the contrary is false.”

Rumours. False. You can’t get much clearer than that.

Yet another example of it being more convenient for some to blame Monsanto than write the facts.

#MCC #USCongress #Monsanto #MonsantoMyths #USTrade