Farm: Goal to send more crops to China
“Canada has a regulatory system, which has been in place for 20 years. China too has a regulatory system. So one areas that is very important from the industry’s view is that the two countries to collaborate using best practices and understanding each country’s regulatory systems, and learning from each other,” he said.
One of the major hurdles to overcome as the two countries seek to expand on the agricultural trade is the issue of GM foods products.
China has remained highly prudent over the marketing of domestic GM products as the agricultural authorities have only approved the commercial cultivation of GM cotton and papaya.
The country has also previously rejected millions of tons of GM corn imports from the United States, as the shipments was found to have contained the MIR 162 strain of corn, which was not yet to be approved by Chinese agricultural authorities.
“To me, China has the world’s world-class modern plant breeding technologies and scientists. It is the agricultural products that the country is lagging behind. So we are trying to understand why that happens and what we can do to help,” he said.
Yarrow said many agricultural products from Canada, such as canola, corn and soybeans are genetically enhanced, and GM products are part of the food supply in the country. Canadians have been consumers of these products for many years with no safety concerns.
Canada can also share with China its regulatory experience of GM foods products, he said, as he believed the country’s system is among the world’s best .
“We too have suffered from incidents of consumers who are misinformed and spread misinformation about those products. What is going in China is the same in those countries,” he said. However, quite different from China, the Canadian public has a very high level of trust in the Canadian regulatory system. Deng Rui in Chongqing contributed to the story.