China's New Labeling & Safety Rules on GE Crops Worry USExporters

China's New Labeling & Safety
Rules on GE Crops Worry US

China Daily
January 10, 2002



China is putting the research, production and sale of genetically modified
organisms (GMOs) under strict scrutiny with the establishment of a safety
certification process, a Ministry of Agriculture official said yesterday.
The country has released the details for the implementation of its first
statute on GMOs, which was enacted in June to protect people, animals and
the environment while pushing agro-biotechnology research, said Fang
Xiangdong of the ministry's newly created GMO safety office.

The implementing rules have raised concerns in the United States, a major
GMO exporter to China. Washington is considering "the potential impact on US
trade to China," US embassy officials said yesterday. The new rules require
all GMOs entering China for research, production or processing to get safety
certificates from the ministry to ensure that the goods are safe for people,
animals and the environment.

Imports that lack safety certificates and relevant papers will be returned
or destroyed.

The new rules also require all genetically altered soy beans, corn,
rapeseed, cotton seed and tomatoes to be clearly labelled as GMO products
when they hit the market after March 20.

"China's safety certification format is fair and in line with international
practice," Fang said. "It conforms to the rules of the World Trade
Organization." The United States agreed that the regulations are "very
technical" and will analyze them very closely, said Joseph Bookbinder, a US
Embassy spokesman.

The US shipped 1.9 million tons of soy beans to China between September 1
and December 6. Up to 70 per cent of them are genetically modified,
according to Phillip Laney, chief representative of the American Soybean

The shipments were possible thanks to an interim arrangement reached by the
United States and China after China issued its first regulations on the
import of GMOs in June, Laney said.

It was not clear how the regulations will influence trade in the coming

Hu Zanmin, director of the Genetic Engineering Lab of the Chinese Academy of
Sciences, said the new rules will be instrumental in standardizing the
scientific research, production and marketing of GMOs.
"That is key to stopping potential hazards from entering China through GMO
imports," he said.

China Daily

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