The government of the People's Republic of China has issued a final safety certificate for the importation of soybeans and soybean products derived from biotech-enhanced Roundup Ready® Soybean seedstock.
In a statement welcoming the announcement, the 25,000 producer-member strong American Soybean Association (ASA) said the action is based on two years of field and food safety tests in China that have confirmed the safety, healthfulness and environmental friendliness of Roundup Ready soybeans. China has been importing Roundup Ready soybeans under a series of interim safety certificates.
First certified by the U.S. government in 1995, and since then approved by 38 other countries, Roundup Ready soybeans are the only biotech-enhanced soybean variety commercially planted in the U.S. Last year, about 85 percent of the soybeans in the U.S. were grown from Roundup Ready seed. On a worldwide basis, more than 60 percent of soybeans in world trade have been improved through modern biotechnology.
Within the last seven years, China, a genetic center of origin for the soybean, has made a dramatic transition from being a net soybean exporting country, to the largest export market for U.S. soybeans. In 2003, U.S. soybean exports to China totaled 10.9 million metric tons (400 million bushels) worth $2.8 billion. This represented more than 35 percent of all U.S. soy exports and more than 40 percent of China's import requirements.
Last year in December, ASA signed a cooperation agreement with representatives of the China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce & Animal By-Products (CFNA) in support of continued U.S. soybean exports to China. The agreement calls for a wide range of mutually beneficial exchanges and activities, including the exchange of delegations between ASA and CFNA.