China Clarifies GMO Permit Rules

China's agriculture ministry on Thursday (3/28) clarified its rules on imports of transgenic foods, raising hopes that U.S.-Chinese soybean trade will recover later this spring.

Reuters News Service reported that the Ministry of Agriculture told a training seminar on genetically modified organisms (GMO) that foreign firms did not have to apply for as many safety permits for their GMO products as originally thought under China's current, temporary rules.

"Foreign exporters do not need to apply for separate safety certificates for each cargo, as long as they have applied for the same type of GMO products and it involves the same exporters and buyers," a ministry official told the seminar in Beijing.

Exporters also did not have to apply for GMO labels for their bioengineered products, ministry officials told the seminar.

Foreign firms in China welcomed the news and said they were confident some importers would get safety permits in about a month, possibly kickstarting US soybean shipments which had stalled for about nine months due to confusing GMO rules.

According to Reuters, some traders dashed off after the seminar to use mobile phones to inquire about soybeans, hoping that a bureaucratic logjam would now clear.

Editors note: Richard Brock, Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.