Monday, 17 November 2014

DuPont pleased China considering foreign GMO research

US-based international chemicals and health care company DuPont said it supports its subsidiary and partners in China engaged in genetically modified organism (GMO) research and development, now that China is considering lifting a ban on foreign investment in GMO research in the country, according to the Beijing-based China Business Journal.
On Nov. 4, the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, updated a draft catalogue of industries in which foreign investment is allowed, which will result in lifting the ban on GMO research funded by foreign companies, even though developing and growing crops will still remain prohibited. The draft will remain in the consultation phase until Dec. 3.
China banned the research and development of GM crops by foreign companies more than a decade ago, although the government has been devoting resources to the research and development of GMOs.
In response to the recent change, Williams Niebur, vice president of DuPont, told the paper that the firm is very pleased to see the change while the company itself feels greatly encouraged.
Niebur added that he hopes foreign enterprises will be allowed to participate in discussions over the matter while the draft is seeking consultation. If the draft is passed, DuPont will allow its subsidiary and partners in China to participate in GMO research and development, he stated.
Currently, international companies, including DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto and Bayer are at various stages of collaboration with China's research institutions.
China's deputy minister of agriculture Yu Xinrong said in a speech delivered during a food safety summit on Nov. 7 that the Chinese government is supportive of international agricultural companies taking part in GMO research and development in China.
Yu also said that lifting the ban on foreign investment in GMO research is a step towards further opening up China's agriculture industry and will greatly boost GMO innovation.
Although the Chinese government has been investing heavily in research institutions and local enterprises engaging in the research and development of GMOs, public debate on the safety of this type of crop has become increasingly intense over the last few years. Many choose to shun GM food and have been very concerned over news about mislabeling or GMOs leaking into the market.
High level officials and the Ministry of Agriculture have responded stating that these kinds of crops are safe and that GMO crops have been important for boosting grain yields over the last few years, the report said.
Yu Xinrong 余欣榮

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