Dear colleagues,

This is an urgent call for sign-ons by Wednesday 8 March of the attached letter to stop another FTA from requiring membership of Malaysia in an anti-small farmer treaty. It will be sent to the KSU of MITI, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Malaysia is in the midst of negotiating yet another Free Trade Agreement - this one is with the European free Trade Association comprising Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland We understand that in the upcoming March negotiations session the issue of joining UPOV 1991 as an obligation may be decided,

If you recall, the 1991 Act of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 1991) is against the fundamental right of farmers to save, exchange and sell farm-saved seeds- joining UPOV is a demand of developed countriesin FRAs as it benefits formal plant breeders and transnational seed companies. Malaysia already has the Protection of Plant Varieties Act 2004 which also includes a provision that if a GMO is involved, there cannot be registration of plant breeders' rights for that variety unless all biosafety clearance has been made under our 20017 Biosafety Act. UPOV 1991 does not allow biosafety considerations.

The irony is that Norway has rejected UPOV 1991 and is a party to UPOV 1978 precisely because of the inflexibility of UPOV 1991.  Liechtenstein, another EFTA member, is not a party to UPOV 1991, some trade agreements negotiated with EFTA states have no obligation on Parties to ratify UPOV 1991 (e.g. with Singapore and the Southern African Customs Union).

The appeal letter can be accessed at

We hope that your organisation can sign on - please send your confirmation to

With best wishes, 

131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang
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