Crop Biotech Update

Recommendations to Improve China's Agribiotech Regulations

November 4, 2011

Jikun Huang and Jun Yang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences released a paper about China's agricultural biotechnology regulations. According to the paper, trade disruptions caused by China's zero threshold approach to low level presence (LLP) could lead to a slight increase in domestic maize price and large increase in soybean price, which could also affect the livestock sector and overall social welfare, and also have some consequences in the export markets.

The authors also pointed out that although China has already commercialized a number of GM crops and has a lot of GM crops in the research and regulatory pipeline, no GM crop developed in China have been approved in another country. This could eventually lead to trade disruptions affecting Chinese rice exports. With these concerns, the authors came up with the following recommendations:

  • Soy and maize exporters are well advised to pay close attention to Chinese import approval regulations.
  • China should consider embarking on its import approval process before a GM event has been authorized in the country of origin, so as to shorten the regulatory delay.
  • China should also take a pragmatic and cost-effective approach to LLP that ensures the safety of imported commodity shipments and minimized disruptions to international trade and domestic market price stability.
  • Although China's biotech program is focused on improving its domestic agricultural productivity and food security, it should nonetheless request approvals in trade partners, in order to avoid import bans affecting its rice and processed rice products.

Download a copy of the discussion paper at http://www.agritrade.org/Publications/documents/LLPChina.pdf