USGC leaders engage on China and biotech at JCCT

By U.S. Grains Council | December 19, 2014

As word came that Chinese officials have given verbal approval for the biotech corn trait MIR 162, trade and agriculture stakeholders gathered this week in Chicago for the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Trade and Commerce discussions.

U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight, Director in China Bryan Lohmar and Past Chairman Julius Schaaf, a farmer from Iowa, attended the JCCT meetings on behalf of the organization. Schaaf also represented MAIZALL, an international alliance of maize producers in the United States, Argentina and Brazil.

Sleight, Lohmar and Schaaf took part in briefing and advisory sessions related to ongoing government-to-government conversations on crop biotechnology. These included meetings with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman about the ongoing issues related to the biotech approval process in China. Overall, they found the climate for discussion to be optimistic and encouraging for the Council’s ongoing work in the market.

Council leaders are encouraged by reports out of China that approval of MIR 162, marketed as Viptera, is imminent although formal confirmation is still pending. Approval of MIR 162 would be a positive step toward building a stronger U.S.-China relationship on agricultural trade. 

The Council has worked in China for more than 30 years and continues to work on issues of trade policy and market development both in Washington, D.C., and Beijing.