As trade talks progress, China may slow already lengthy approval process for US biotech crops

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Image Credit: Gapping World

China may agree to buy more U.S. agriculture commodities and lift onerous trade barriers in the ongoing talks, but unless negotiators can agree on an effective way to make sure the Chinese live up to their promises, any final deal would be worthless.

“I think that whatever we agree to as a matter of substance, enforcement is very important because we have been snookered by the Chinese in past agreements….” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said March 5]. “In final negotiations, enforcement is the last big thing for our government to work out, and our negotiators are on top of it.”

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One of the ag policy issues U.S. negotiators have been pushing especially hard on is China’s opaque and lengthy biotech trait approval system. [U.S. Trade Representative Robert] Lighthizer said [the last week of February] he has made it a priority of his to get reform, but signs from inside China show that the country is going in the opposite direction.

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has recently revised rules to “impose additional in-country trials and studies on new biotech events as part of the dossier submission process,” according to a new analysis by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

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