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BIO Applauds Bipartisan Senate Letter on U.S.-China Trade Negotiations

March 14, 2019
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Washington, D.C. (March 14, 2019) – Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood today applauded a letter authored by Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to President Trump urging him to continue prioritizing in U.S.-China trade negotiations the need for China to commit to systemic change and implement a predictable, timely, transparent, and science-based biotech crop approval process. Thirty-seven senators, in total, signed the bipartisan letter.

“BIO appreciates Senators Roberts and Stabenow for underlining how China’s broken regulatory framework for agriculture biotechnology is hindering U.S. innovation and holding back American farmers, companies, and exporters. Biotech seeds help our farmers address production challenges – such as disease and extreme weather – while improving the productivity of their crops and lessening the impact on the environment. Rural America would get a big win with a full-fledged agreement that requires systemic change and puts an end to the Chinese protectionism that arbitrarily dictates what technology U.S. farmers can use.

“We thank the senators who have signed this letter for engaging with the president as the administration works to secure a predictable, timely, transparent, and science-based biotech crop approval process that facilitates trade and bolsters U.S. agricultural exports.”

In addition to Senators Roberts and Stabenow, the letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.)

A PDF of the letter is available here, and text of the letter is below.

March 14, 2019

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your continued engagement on resolving trade differences between the United States and China. We write in support of the continued prioritization of a timely, transparent, and science-based system for the approvals of agricultural biotechnology products.

Over the last few decades, advancements in research and the development of crop technologies in the U.S. have allowed producers to achieve higher yields, overcome weather challenges, and require fewer inputs, such as pesticide and nitrogen application. This innovation is significantly hindered by delays in China’s regulatory system, as producers who seek to access and compete in the global market risk rejection of shipments of grain and oilseeds.

Past commitments have been made between the U.S. and China to address these issues, most recently in 2017 as part of the Administration’s 100-Day Action Plan of the U.S. – China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue. While there have been approvals for a limited number of certain products, China has failed to make the systemic changes to their regulatory system required to provide the predictability upon which U.S. producers, technology providers, and exporters rely.

We recognize the recent decision to suspend the scheduled tariff increase and look forward to resolving critical trade barriers in the ongoing negotiations. As you prepare to meet with President Xi, and your Administration continues negotiations on a U.S.-China trade agreement, we ask that you continue to prioritize a timely, transparent, and science-based system for the approval of agricultural biotechnology products.

A strengthened agreement that results in a functioning and reliable regulatory system for these products will allow our producers to better compete in the global market, strengthen mutual food security, address environmental challenges, and continue to advance innovation and success at home.

                                                                        Sincerely,

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