Foreign genetically altered crops can now enter China with the award of first batch of safety certificates to a US biotech giant Monsanto by the Ministry of Agriculture on Monday.
The move formalized earlier interim agreements with foreign export businesses that had been granted temporary permit to trade genetically modified crops, such as soybeans, maize and cotton.
The ministry also pledged to place the importation of agricultural biotech products under "normal" administrative rules when related interim rules expire on April 20.
China has received 18 applications for certificates from five foreign biotech crop developers since it enacted new regulations in 2002, requiring safety certificates for imported crops derived through genetic modification.
The ministry has completed environment and food safety testing on seven of them, all from the US biotech giant Monsanto.
It finally granted permits to five of Monsanto strains, valid for three to five years, and the other two were denied due to lack of necessary information, ministry officials said.
(China Daily February 24, 2004)