Leaders from the U.S. Soy industry travelled to China to attend the 4th China Food Security & Food Safety Strategy (FSFSS) Summit and exchange views with the country’s policy advisors in Beijing on November 12 and 13.
The FSFSS Summit, organized by China’s top policy advisory body Development Research Center of the State Council, was held at the Diaoyutai National Guesthouse, a garden-style complex where Chinese leaders meet and house foreign heads of state.
The U.S. delegation, including USSEC Chairman and American Soybean Association (ASA) Director Jim Miller, ASA President Richard Wilkins, United Soybean Board (USB) Director Bill Beam, and USSEC CEO Jim Sutter, expressed concerns during the summit over the delays in China’s approval procedures for biotech soybean events. Mr. Miller, in his presentation on “Science-Based Food Safety Regulatory System,” made the case that the GMO food issue should not be muddled up with the food safety issue, as the seeds have been tested for safety and approved well ahead of being processed into food. Mr. Wilkins warned Chinese policy advisors that biotech approval delays would not only hurt growers and seed developers, but the environment and consumers as well. Mr. Beam argued that advanced technology, including biotechnology, enhances sustainability, and helps with global food security and food safety.
The U.S. Soy grower leaders also held a sideline meeting with Mr. Han Jun, Vice Minister of China’s Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group (CRWLG) to communicate the U.S. Soy industry’s efforts in consumer education on biotech, express the industry’s concerns over approval delays, and elaborate on the possible negative impact on China’s food security and food safety.
Mr. Wilkins also had an informal discussion during the summit with Chen Xiwen, CRWSLG’s former Deputy Director. Mr. Chen, currently serving as President of Tsinghua University’s China Institute for Rural Studies, shared his views on the country’s ongoing structural reform of agricultural supply and expounded the multiple causes behind the fluctuations in China’s domestic agricultural prices in recent years.
The U.S. delegation also networked with industry leaders in animal feed and biotechnology. They showed particular interest in China’s use of agricultural drones and talked with Justin Gong, co-founder and CMO of south China’s agricultural drone manufacturer XAIRCRAFT, on business opportunities opened up by this technology, which is relatively new to China.
Also speaking at the summit were Iowa Governor Terry Branstad; Luke Hartsuyker, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia; and Martyn Dunne, Director General of the Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand, among others.