American Antitrust Institute Says Competition in the Transgenic Seed Industry is Impaired by Monsanto

In a White Paper published today, the American Antitrust Institute analyzes the dismal state of competition in the transgenic seed industry. The analysis concludes that agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto possesses the market power to frustrate competition in soybeans, cotton, and corn, potentially slowing innovation and adversely affecting prices, quality, and choices for farmers and ultimate consumers of vitally important commodities. Download the White Paper above. "Transgenic Seed Platforms: Competition Between a Rock and a Hard Place," concludes that antitrust enforcement and/or federal legislative relief is needed. The paper follows recent reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the transgenic seed industry. AAI Director and Vice President Diana Moss, the author, concludes that an antitrust investigation should focus on complex seed “platforms” comprised of innovation, genetic traits, and seed markets. Control of patented agricultural biotechnology and distribution channels for transgenic seed are critical access issues that adversely affect competition. The White Paper notes that patent law and antitrust law are at loggerheads in the transgenic seed industry and that restoring competition will necessitate a resolution to the tension. Antitrust intervention will also require careful and creative thinking about remedies in an industry that is so dominated by a single firm--Monsanto. Moss explained that because the transgenic seed industry is global in scope, antitrust authorities in foreign jurisdictions, especially the European Union, will likely watch developments in the U.S. with care. Moss recently discussed competitive problems in the transgenic seed industry at the Organization for Competitive Markets conference in St. Louis. Download the presentation above.