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[genet-news] POLICY & REGULATION: Hong Kong (China) enacts GMO bill

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SOURCE: Government of Hong Kong, China

AUTHOR: Press Release


DATE:   21.05.2009

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The Environmental Protection Department will gazette a bill tomorrow to protect biological diversity by controlling of the release of genetically-modified organisms into the environment, and their import and export.

Enacting the Genetically Modified Organisms (Control of Release) Bill will enable the Government to implement the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in Hong Kong for better protection of biological diversity.

The protocol was adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2000 to provide for the safe transfer, handling and use of genetically-modified organisms that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

Under the bill, prior approval must be sought from the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation before a genetically-modified organism can be released into the environment or imported into Hong Kong.

Applications must be accompanied by a risk-assessment report on the possible adverse effects of the organism on the environment. Only those which do not cause unacceptable or unmanageable impact on local biological diversity will be approved.

In accordance with the protocol, the approval procedure does not apply to genetically-modified organisms imported for food, feed or for processing. An import shipment of such organisms with proper documentation is required.

The Government wants to enact the new bill in 2010. There will be a six-month transitional period to allow stakeholders and the public to adapt to the new law.



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