In the first week of April, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources ("IBAMA") published Normative Instruction 03/2015 ("IN"), revoking the previous Normative Instruction 154/2007, which regulated the sending of biological materials abroad for scientific research. The IN does not deal with biological materials being sent abroad for access to genetic resources.
Pursuant to the new IN, authorization from IBAMA is no longer required for exporting materials extracted from flora, for fishery resources and microorganisms, except for species listed in the Convention on International Trade of Fauna Species and Endangered Wild Flora.
This initiative reduces administrative obstacles and facilitates the exchange between Brazilian and foreign research institutions, as well as the use by Brazilian researchers of technology and laboratory facilities only available abroad.
The IN was published at a time when a new legal framework for regulating access to and use of the genetic heritage of Brazil's biodiversity and sharing the benefits of scientific research is the subject of Legislative Proposal 7735/2014 to the Executive Branch ("PL").
The PL seeks to replace the current and deficient legal framework (Provisional Measure 2186-16/2001), to align it with current market needs, and to encourage research and technological innovation. The current legislative model is exclusively based on "command-and-control actions" (e.g. state inspection and imposition of fines). This model discourages market competition, scientific research and traceability of products that use Brazilian biodiversity, as well as weakening the monitoring of production chains and innovation.
In addition, the PL facilitates the regularization of companies fined by IBAMA and guidelines for tracing results of scientific research, as well as a more effective regulation for sharing the benefits of genetic resource access.
The PL is currently awaiting approval by the Federal Senate (Senado Federal) (as "PL No. 02/15"), which is expected to be obtained within the next few days.
The House of Representatives (Câmara dos Deputados) has already approved the PL. If the Senate approves the PL without any amendment, it will be submitted to the President for approval. If the Senate does not approve the PL entirely, it will be sent back to the House of Representatives for further deliberation.