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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 7, 2008
Message to the Senate of the United States
TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:
I transmit herewith for advice and consent of the Senate to ratification the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on November 3, 2001, and signed by the United States on November 1, 2002 (the "Treaty"). The Treaty entered into force in June 2004.
The centerpiece of the Treaty is the establishment of a multilateral system under which a party provides access to other parties, upon request, to listed plant genetic resources held in national genebanks. These resources are to be used solely for purposes of research, breeding, and training in agriculture. A recipient of such a resource must then share the benefits from its use, e.g., a recipient who commercializes a product containing an accessed plant genetic resource must generally pay a percentage of any gross sales into a trust account.
Transfers under the multilateral system are to be accompanied by a standard material transfer agreement, the current version of which was concluded in June 2006.
Provision of plant genetic resources from U.S. genebanks is fully consistent with the Department of Agriculture's long-standing general practice of providing access to such plant genetic resources upon request. Ratification of the Treaty will provide U.S. agricultural interests with similar access to other parties' genebanks, thus helping U.S. farmers and researchers sustain and improve their crops and promote food security.
The Treaty may be implemented under existing U.S. authorities.
I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State concerning the Treaty, which contains an understanding regarding Article 12.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
July 7, 2008.
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