Ag Policy Blog

Senators Ask China to Get Busy on Biotech Approvals

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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A pair of U.S. senators are publicly asking the Chinese government to approve biotech traits that in some cases have been in China's regulatory pipeline for years.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen, Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, sent a letter Tuesday China’s Ambassador to the United States asking the Chinese government to "prioritize the approval of eight biotech traits."

The senators stated in a news release that U.S. biotechnology companies have made good-faith efforts to address questions and concerns about their products, but delays continue by the Chinese government. Some of the biotech traits in question were first submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture for approval in 2011. No approvals were granted in 2015.

Both Grassley and Donnelly pressed for more Chinese action to show their commitment to improving U.S.-China economic relations through agricultural trade.

The letter comes after another round of high-level talks this week between U.S. and Chinese officials in Beijing that, according to reports, seemed to accomplish little. Leaders agreed to talk more about both economic and security issues. They agreed to "speed up" talks over a bi-lateral investment treaty that the two countries have been negotiating since at least 2008.…

In their letter, the senators cited the different U.S-Chinese business ties and negotiations in recent years, but the senators said these commitments between the two countries "are not executed in practice."

The senators added, "We are troubled by the fact that the Chinese regulatory system continues to be cumbersome and unpredictable. Some companies with pending traits were asked for data that had been previously supplied. We ask that the Chinese government and the Ministry of Agriculture prioritize the final decisions for these eight traits. This would be a strong gesture of commitment to the assurances made during President Xi’s visit last fall."

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