The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging the Obama administration to work with China to streamline the nation’s biotech approval process. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: AFBF, along with U.S. House representatives, is urging the administration to remain firm in its efforts to see China establish a transparent, predictable and practical approach to approving biotechnology traits for import. Next month the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade will meet and AFBF is hopeful biotech approvals will top the agenda. AFBF economist Veronica Nigh says stable regulations from China would benefit U.S. agriculture.

Nigh: In 2015, China purchased $20.3 billion worth of American ag products. Roughly 54 percent of that were from biotech derived plant products, so clearly market access for this portion of U.S. ag exports is important and unfortunately a bit fragile due to China’s biotechnology regulatory regime.

Clements: She says China’s regulatory approval process is not synchronized with the rest of the world, and many products that have received scientific approval in China are stalled in the final approval phase.

Nigh: To get a product approved in China it already has to be approved in the United States and another major trading partner. That obviously causes delays in being able to ship approved U.S. products to the Chinese market. But unfortunately even on top of that asynchrony, at best China’s approval process is now taking four years to complete.

Clements: She says the need for a streamlined biotech process in China is even more critical this year with a bumper crop in the States.

Nigh: Buyers in China want to purchase high quality U.S. biotech crop. They’ve shown that year after year with increasing purchases. So we want to make sure that the U.S. government and the Chinese government are all on the same page to make sure all of that good quality crop that is so bountiful this year can find a home in different export markets including China.

Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.