Importation of transgenic plants and field testing in Thailand by rez13585


									   Importation of Transgenic Plants : Rule and Regulations

                                Benjawan Jumroonpong


                  he economic growth of Thailand is significantly based on
                  agricultural sector especially for exporting to increase productivity
                  in order to compete with the world market , the development of
modern biotechnology and genetic engineering is seemed to play an important role.
Not only it offered an advantage over conventional breeding that has been used
regularly for crop improvement but also a challenge opportunity for utilizing the
technology to produce pest resistant plant.

Current Status on Biosafety Development
           Even, Thailand would like to enjoy the benefit of biotechnology but also
concern on the safety and potential risk in related to biotechnology, particularly
genetic engineering. Public awareness is over the possible hazards resulting from the
environmental release of genetically modified plants.
            To prevent any adverse effects on agriculture and environment due to the
introduction of transgenic plants into the Kingdom, the Department of Agriculture
(DOA), Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) has appointed Biosafety
Committee on Agriculture to set up the procedure and guidelines for the introduction
of transgenic plant. DOA has utilized its existing law to regulate the system for
importing transgenic plants, Plant Quarantine Act B.E. 2507 (1964) and Plant Variety
Protection Act B.E. 2542 (1999).
           Presently, Thai policy does not allow importation and production at any
GM-plants for commercial purpose. According to Plant Quarantine Act, the
importation of the GM-plant which is specified as prohibited materials unless for
research purpose that requires an import permit issued by the DOA, competent

• Senior Agricultural Scientist ( Plant Varieties Protection Office, Department
  of Agriculture, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900 Thailand Tel. & Tax (662) 940-5687

• Paper submitted at Asia Regional Workshop on Biosafety. on 22-24 May 2002. New Delhi, India.

Implementation and Enforcement of the Regulatory System
            Plant Quarantine Act B.E. 2507 (1964) could be referred to as the
regulation of imported GM-plants into the country. To comply with the Plant
Quarantine Law concerning transgenic plants as the prohibited materials, the MOAC
has issued many rules and measure, as follows :

           A) Ministerial Notification

                MOAC issued The Ministerial Notification B.E. 2543 (2000) under
the Plant Quarantine Act B.E. 2507 amended by Plant Quarantine (No.2) B.E. 2542
specified 40 GM-plant species as prohibited materials for importation unless for
experiment and research purposes that requires the import permit issued by DOA.
Soybean and Corn grain are exempted from the ministerial notification in light of
food, feed and industrial utilization.

           B) DOA Notification

               -   Application Guidelines for the importation of prohibited transgenic
               -   To certify crop production in Thailand is Non-GMOs (list of 159

Procedures for Importation of Transgenic Plants
            Application of imported transgenic plant into the Kingdom has to be
submitted to the Director of Agricultural Regulatory Division (ARD). The plant
quarantine authority will review and check all the necessary documents in accordance
with ministerial and DOA notifications. Furthermore, the Director of ARD will
submit the application accompanied with information and technical documents to the
DOA Biosafety Committee for consideration. The Committee shall appoint four to
five committee members to evaluate and examine all technical information and make
recommendation to the Committee. Finally, the Director-General of DOA on the
advice and recommendation of the Biosafety Committee will make a decision whether
to approve or reject the application. According to import regulation, the imported
material must have with it a Phytosanitary Certificate issued by the country of origin
and sent directly to the DG of DOA. The imported material must be throughly
examined for infestation and infection of pest and diseases at P.Q. central laboratory,
Bangkok. (as shown in Figure 1 and 2)

                      Submitted Application Form P. Q 1

                                                   Reviewing and checking
                                                   accompanied with application

               Examination/evaluation of relevant information
               and documents by 4-5 designated committee

               DG of DOA issue import permits or denies
               application with advice and recommendation of
               Biosafety Committee

     application rejected                         Issuance of import permit

Fig. 1 Application Process for Importation of Transgenic Plants into Thailand

                    Approved Applicant

                                               The imported material must be
                                               accompanied by a
                                               Phytosanitary Certificate

                                               60 day advance notice prior to

                                               must be imported via Maritime
                                               Port/General Post Office and
                                               BKK International Airport P.Qs

          Imported materiel must be directly
          sent to DG-DOA

          Throughly examined for any
          quarantine pests at P.Q central

Release                                                Destroy

                       Fig. 2 Import Procedure

Approval of Transgenic Plants
             In accordance with the Plant Quarantine Act B.E. 2507 (1964) amended
(No.2) B.E. 2542 (1999). The importation of prohibited material shall be required the
permission from the DG of DOA only for the purpose of experimentation or research
in related to the following processes :
            1. The experiment must be carried out under the strict control of the Field
Inspection on Biosafety Working Group responsible for inspection and monitoring in
laboratory / greenhouse, closed containment and field trial. At present, there are five
Field Inspection on Biosafety Working Group; rice, maize cotton, tomato and papaya
& cucurbitaceae. (The testing procedure is shown in Figure 3 )
             2. Rules and procedures of biosafety guidelines will be observed and
strictly implemented.
             3. The working group will conclude and report the testing result at each
step to the Risk Assessment Sub-Committee to evaluate the risk and safety.
           4. Risk Assessment Sub-Committee will submit report of evaluation to
Biosafety Committee for consideration.
           5. DG-DOA by recommendation and advice of Biosafety Committee will
submit an opinion to deregulate certain GM-plant to the Minister of Agriculture and
Cooperatives if no adverse effect has been found.
           6. The Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives will have a final decision
whether to deregulate or not.

Applicant with permission to import transgenic plants

                                        Submitted experimental plan (lab/greenhouse ,
                                        closed containment and field trial)

   Field Inspection on Biosafety Working Group

                                        Monitor , inspect , advise applicant in
                                        conducting experiments and report the results

          Risk Assessment Sub-Committee

                                        Evaluate risk and safety

            Biosafety Committee, DOA

                                        Considered risk assessment report by Risk
                                        Assessment Sub-Committee

               Director General DOA

                                        Advise and recommend to regulate or
                                        deregulate certain transgenic plants

   Minister of MOAC on advise of the DG-DOA
  proclaim a Ministerial Notification to regulate or
     deregulate certain transgenic plant species

                     Fig. 3 Testing Procedure

            The biological risk assessment of imported transgenic plants shall
consider the following criteria as important factors :
             1. The experiment will be conducted in an enclosed environment on its
first introduction.
            2. Biological risk assessment shall be taken into account in the
experiment under supervision of the appointed working group and sub-committee on
risk assessment.
           3. To evaluate biological risks of imported transgenic plant, must
consider important factors as follow :
              3.1 The potential for gene flow
              3.2 The effect on beneficial insects, such as bees and natural enemies
                  e.g. predator and parasite
              3.3 The possibility of weediness
              3.4 The effect on soil microorganism
              3.5 The effect on other crop plants


Attathom, S. 2000. Status of Research and Development on Transgenic Plants in
        Thailand. Paper presented at the ASEAN-China Workshop on Transgenic
        Plants. July 30 – August 5, 2000. Beijing, People Republic of China.

Napompeth, B. 1997. Status of Biosafety in Thailand. Paper presented at the Asia-
       Pacific Workshop on Biosafety: Environmental Impact Analysis of
       Transgenic Plants. M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation. July 21-
       26,1997. Madras (Chennai), India.

Plant Varieties Protection Office, 2001. Annual Report, 2000. Plant Varieties
        Protection Office, Department of Agriculture, Bangkok. 97 pp.

Thitiprasert, W. 2000. Thailand’s Experience in Biosafety. Paper presented at the
         Workshop on Science and Technology Information on Biosafety. January
         10-14, 2000. Bangkok, Thailand.


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