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CHINA SEED LAW AMENDMENT MAKES WAY FOR NEW PLANT VARIETIES

11/09/2015

China amended its seed law on November 4 making it easier for new crop varieties to be introduced into the market. Existing seeds such as oilseed rape, potato, and peanut seeds will now avoid long approval processes and will be able to register directly with authorities. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016. The approval process, which requires government trials and can take up to four years to complete, will remain unchanged for corn, cotton, rice, and soybeans, some of China’s most important commodity crops. According to China’s agriculture ministry, China’s seed industry is the world’s second largest. China’s large growth in grain output comes largely from heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides. Proponents of the change argue that it will encourage innovation, protect farmers’ interests, and aid the development of China’s seed industry. Critics commented that the law does not do enough to support research and development and criticized its failure to adopt tougher rules on hybrid plants. This is the first change to China’s seed law since it passed in 2000. For the full story, see http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/11/04/us-china-seeds-idUKKCN0ST1A420151104