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SAID Meeting on Sept 24 to Discuss Biotech Crop Approvals

September 23, 2015
Agriculture in general and biotechnology in particular will be high on the agenda in meetings this week between U.S. and China officials, starting with an all-day session Thursday called the Strategic Agriculture Innovation Dialogue (SAID), according to AgriPulse.

The SAID meeting, which isn’t open to the press or public, is supposed to focus on the big picture in technology, finance and innovation and will include discussion of the potential benefits of Big Data as well as biotechnology, according to the article.

...But U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, who will be one of the SAID speakers, said Tuesday that the meeting will also get into ways to improve agriculture trade, including by getting China to act on the biotech applications “that have been in the pipeline for too long.”

...Industry representatives aren’t expecting China to move the approvals while Xi is here but they do look for action in coming weeks.

Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, will be a featured speaker at the meeting, and a number of farm groups and other major companies will be represented, including Deere, ADM, Cargill and J.R. Simplot. Notably, the Chinese government representatives will include officials from trade and economic ministries as well as agriculture...

A Monsanto spokeswoman said Fraley will focus on the “important role ag innovation plays in global economic growth, food security and resource management.”
Matt O’Mara of the Biotechnology Industry Organization says the SAID meeting will be tightly scripted. “It will be more focused on policies that are needed to encourage innovation … It’s not intended to be a forum where they are going to be pounding the table.”

Sara Wyant of AgriPulse continued her piece by stating that the SAID meeting is the first of its kind and grew out of a meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade last year. The results of the meeting will be reported to the JCCT.

The administration will be pushing China more broadly to open up its market further and to implement policy reforms needed to improve trade. Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Tuesday, Froman said that China is at an “inflection point."

...On another trade-related subject, Froman noted that negotiators have been working on settling differences with Japan over automobiles ahead of another ministerial meeting in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, but it’s not clear how close they are to a deal. Froman said negotiators are making “steady progress, and we’re going to continue to monitor that work so we can bring this to a close as soon as possible.”
But Froman stopped short of saying he was confident the deal would be done in time to get through Congress next year. “In my line of work you always have to be optimistic,” he said. “Our focus is on completing the agreement as soon as possible consistent with the high standards we’ve set out for ourselves.”