U.S. officials have prodded China repeatedly for a faster and more open system for deciding whether to approve the import of new GMO crop varieties. China approved only one strain last year, a soybean strain from Bayer’s Crop Science division, compared with three varieties approved in 2015.
The courts are still cleaning up the mess from Chinese rejection in 2013 of cargoes of U.S. corn on the grounds the U.S. included an unapproved GMO variety (MIR162) from Syngenta. U.S. regulators approved the strain in 2010.
The American Chamber of Commerce says it typically takes six years to win Chinese clearance of a GMO variety, twice as long as other major nations. Government decisions on approval of biotech applications are made once a year. The panel of experts who review applications used to meet three times a year, but now they are required to meet at least twice a year.
U.S. ag exports to China increased by 125% in the past decade, as Beijing became the largest U.S. customer for farm products, says USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson.
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