Obama urged to push China on biotech approvals

By Philip Brasher

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2015 - Farm groups and biotech companies want the White House to press China harder to accelerate its approval of new genetically engineered crops. 

Industry groups have sent a pair of letters to President Obama to make the issue a priority during the upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Lets Talk Food

“We are concerned that, since your last meeting with President Xi, much of the good will and cooperation about solving common food, environmental and economic policy goals have eroded or even reversed course,” said a letter by the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance

The members of the alliance include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Seed Trade Association, Biotechnology Industry Organization, National Corn Growers Association and National Association of Wheat Growers, North American Millers' Association and U.S. Canola Association.

Seven products are currently awaiting final import approval, while others are awaiting approval to start field trials. Monsanto Co. has four products in the final stage, three of them soybean and one corn. DuPont Pioneer has two awaiting final approval, canola and corn. China's agriculture ministry has delayed action on a growing number of products since approving three in 2014, said the letter, dated Thursday. 

The letter urged the president to urge Xi to set up a “transparent, predictable and practical approach to both biotechnology approvals and imports of grains and oilseeds that may contain crop biotechnology.”

Both that letter and a Sept. 4 letter signed by state-level farm groups also want Xi pressured to ramp up the Strategic Agriculture Innovation Dialogue, which was created last year to promote trade innovation in agriculture. The Sept. 4 letter suggested pushing Xi to ensure that a broader group of Chinese ministries “engage at a high level” in the discussions.  

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