Bush Can’t Budge China On GMO’s

President Bush’s visit to Beijing was a disappointment for the U.S. soybean industry as it did not bring about any resolution of concerns about China’s questionable new rules on genetically modified foods.

Bush registered his concerns Feb. 21 with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Feb. 22 with Premier Zhu Rongji. But Zhu apparently rejected Bush’s appeal that China be flexible on the GM food rules.

"Mr. Zhu explained that the Chinese practices were wholly in accordance with international practices," a Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters.

That’s not the view in Washington, D.C., where USDA undersecretary J.B. Penn on Thursday raised the possibility of a World Trade Organization complaint against China unless Beijing alters the GM crop rules soon.

The matter is likely to be addressed by a joint U.S.-China commission on trade and commerce, but it is uncertain when that body will meet (sometime this year). The American Soybean Association, meanwhile, continues to express confidence that China will clarify the GM crop rules soon.

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.