CCI must stop the Bayer Monsanto merger
On 7.1.2018 the Competition Commission of India(CCI), India’s anti-trust body for preventing monopoly,invited comments from the public on the adverse impacts of the Bayer-Monsanto merger .
I submitted my objections on the Bayer Monsanto merger to CCI on January 20 2018.
There are many reasons why the merger must not be allowed.
- Both Bayer and Monsanto are corporations that specialise in production of toxic chemicals , beginning with the wars and the genocide in Hitler’s concentration camps. They used to be one as MoBay.Over the past few decades they have introduced their toxics into agriculture and caused significant harm to the planet and people.Bees have been killed by Bayer’s Neonicotinoids.300000 Indian farmers have been pushed to suicide because of dependence on seeds and chemicals resulting in a debt trap.Most of the suicides are concentrated in the Bt cotton areas . 95% of the Bt cotton is controlled by Monsanto.If these giants merge their destructive power will amplify.
- Monsanto entered India with its Bt cotton illegally,violating Biosafety laws.Many cases continue in Indian courts on Monsanto’s Bt cotton. Cases have also been filed on GMO mustard which is resistant to Bayer’s Glufosinate . The approval of the merger will send a signal that Biosafety laws do not count.Protection of the environment and people’s health is no longer a duty of the state.The state will be reduced to an arm of the Bayer Monsanto monopoly to push toxic chemicals and GMOs against Biosafety laws and people’s democratic rights and democratic will.
- The CCI has already found prima facie evidence in the case on Monsanto’s Bt Cotton monopoly,and issued an interim order for investigation on 10/02/2016.Instead of participating in the CCI investigation, Monsanto has challenged the CCI in the courts. (Writ Petition filed on 27th February 2016 and amended Writ Petition (WP (c) N 7578 of 2016)).
This is the highest level of disregard for the Competition Commission. Not only is the authority and jurisdiction of the Competition Commission being challenged, Monsanto’s absolute authority (and by extension Bayer’s), is being established in its stead. Monsanto (Bayer) are questioning the jurisdiction of the Competition Commission of India in cases of monopoly, and questioning the institutions ability to adhere to “principles of natural justice”, simply because the Competition Commission of India is carrying out its duty. This arrogance cannot be allowed to undermine India any further.
The merger will allow Bayer to fully acquire Monsanto monopoly, which will now become a Bayer monopoly. But the approval for the merger will not just be an approval for the continuation of a monopoly, which violates the basic reason for the existence of anti-monopoly bodies like the CCI. An approval for the Bayer Monsanto merger in the current context will in fact be a ruling by the CCI to make itself irrelevant. It will be a ruling in favour of toxic rule by the toxic giants, with absolute control over our seeds and food, over science and regulation.
4. The highest untruth on which Monsanto has built its monopoly over seed is the false claim that genetic engineering is the invention of the seed and of life. For Monsanto and Bayer GMO means “God Move Over “.
With the false claim to having a patent on Bt Cotton Monsanto has extracted royalties from Indian farmers, pushing them to suicide by forcing Indian Seed Companies to sign licensing arrangements.
Monsanto cannot and does not have a patent on Bt Cotton seed, Its patent is for a lab technique for adding a Bt gene (or two Bt genes in the case of Bollgard II) to an existing cotton plant.
India’s Patent Act excludes seeds, plants and animals from “inventions”.
That is why article 3j of India’s Patent Act prohibits patents on seeds.
Article 3(j) excludes from patentability “plants and animals in whole or in any part thereof other than microorganisms but including seeds, varieties, and species, and essentially biological processes for production or propagation of plants and animals”.
Section 3(h) of the Indian Patent Act, excludes from patentability a method of agriculture or horticulture.
When Monsanto applied for a patent on Bt Cotton in May 1st 2001, Monsanto had 59 Claims. The patent examiner asked them to remove all claims in the patent application related to plants and seeds since article 3j of the patent law does not allow patents on seeds and plants. The claims deleted under 3j in Monsanto’s patent application patent were 1-40, 48-56,57,58 related to seeds and plants have been deleted subsequent to two examinations by the Indian Patent Office. Monsanto’s patents IN 214436 is on a method of transformation in the lab, not on Bt Cotton plants and seeds
5. The Bayer Monsanto merger application is based on the false claim that Bayer and Monsanto are withdrawing from the herbicide tolerant GMO crop sector. Firstly, the GMO mustard currently in the Supreme Court of India is engineered to be resistant to Bayer’s herbicide Glufosinate. Secondly Monsanto has spread Roundup Ready Bt Cotton illegally in India.
In April 2017 the Central Cotton Research Institute of India confirmed the presence of Roundup Ready Bt cotton in farmers’ fields. On World Health 2017 day we organised a press conference to call on the Prime Minister to take action against this illegal activity. Farmers of Andhra Pradesh have brought attention of the courts on the illegal Round Up Ready cotton (WP 38579 of 2017 and WP 38613 0f 2017)
Roundup is a threat to consumer health and safety. Round up has been recognised as a carcinogen by the World Health Organisations It is implicated in the kidney disease in Sri Lanka and Latin America. Sri Lanka has banned Roundup. Monsanto’s abuse of the dominant position to influence issues of safety has now been established in US Courts through the Monsanto papers.
6. The toxic giants do not just genetically engineer seeds. They genetically engineer facts and figures. To get the Bayer Monsanto merger approved, Monsanto has gone through the pretense of selling off its cotton seed business. On 31 August 2017 Monsanto, the giant, “sold” its cotton seed business to TIERRA AGROTECH PRIVATE LIMITED, an unlisted company created 4 years ago with paid up capital of a mere Rs 100,000. There is urgent need to investigate this acquisition of Monsanto by Tierra, especially since those involved in Tierra are former employees and current lobbyists of Monsanto.
The Bayer Monsanto Merger is not just about the arithmetic of “competition” which can be conveniently manipulated on paper to hide monopoly. It is about erasing Monsanto’s liability by making Monsanto disappear. It is about the jugglery of reality and facts, the continued assault against the fabric of Biodiversity and nature, the intensification of the war against small farmers, the continuation of the assault on science and scientists, on laws, regulations and institutions, the subversion of democracy and our Constitution.
The CCI will be failing India, her farmers and itself, if it does not stop the merger of Bayer Monsanto.