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6-Regulation: China still works with its tempory GE cropcertification system

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TITLE:  China Aims for Permanent Gene-Altered Crop Safety Certification
SOURCE: Bloomberg, USA
DATE:   Jul 27, 2003

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China Aims for Permanent Gene-Altered Crop Safety Certification

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- China's agriculture ministry said it aims to
complete its certification of genetically modified crops in time to avoid
having to extend a temporary permit system that has caused interruptions
in soybean shipments. China extended the temporary system, which accepts
safety assurances from the nation's three soybean suppliers -- the U.S.,
Brazil and Argentina -- as proof the products don't violate rules China
implemented last year on gene-altered crops. The interim period, meant to
keep trade going while China conducts its own safety tests, has been
extended twice since it was put into effect in March, 2002. "It is our
hope that we will be able to issue our own safety certificate without
having another extension," said Cheng Jingen, deputy director of the
ministry's genetically modified food office. "The growing of test crops
was delayed last year because they were provided to us later than we
expected, but the field tests are going according to schedule this year."
Uncertainty over whether China's field testing of Monsanto Co.'s Roundup
Ready soybean and gene-altered varieties of corn, canola and cotton would
be completed in time has halted China's soybean imports several times
during the past year. This month, China extended the period from Sept. 20
until April 20, 2004. Gene-modified crops are engineered to be resistant
to herbicides and pesticides.


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