Establishing a practical approach to approve biotechnology traits for import in China | TheFencePost.com

Establishing a practical approach to approve biotechnology traits for import in China

Courtesy of the American Farm Bureau Federation

American Farm Bureau Federation is joining congressional lawmakers in urging the administration to remain firm in its efforts to see China establish a transparent, predictable and practical approach to approving biotechnology traits for import.

Despite progress and assurances made by China to streamline and expedite consideration of biotechnology products, many such products that have already received scientific approval in China are languishing in the final approval phase.

American Farm Bureau Federation economist Veronica Nigh said the delays are such a problem for U.S. agriculture.

"In 2015, China purchased $20.3 billion worth of American ag products. Roughly 54 percent of that was from biotech-derived plant products, so clearly market access for this portion of U.S. ag exports is important and, unfortunately, a bit fragile due to China's biotechnology regulatory regime," Nigh said.

The Obama administration, which has pushed hard on this issue, has one last opportunity for high-level engagement when the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade with China meets this month. Unless China picks up the pace, both Chinese buyers and American corn farmers will lose, according to Nigh.

"Buyers in China want to purchase high-quality U.S. biotech crops. They've shown that year after year with increasing purchases," Nigh said. Further, "We want to make sure that the U.S. government and the Chinese government are all on the same page to make sure all of that good quality crop that is so bountiful this year can find a home in different export markets, including China."

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— American Farm Bureau Federation

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