soybean field

USSEC Sponsors International Biotechnology Seminar in Champaign, IL

USSEC recently sponsored the International Biotechnology Seminar, held on August 26 in Champaign, Illinois.  The goal of this event was to bring today’s divergent biotechnology standards up-to-date with proven technology, allowing farmers to produce more crops and for all nations to enjoy food security.
Currently, U.S. and international biotech companies have dozens of new transgenic events designed to increase crop yields.  These new traits will be ready for registration by 2015, but without a synchronized worldwide science-based system for securing approval of new technology, these new events may miss this timetable.
The one day symposium was attended by more than 200 biotech regulators, international trade experts and farmers representing sixteen countries on five continents.  The day’s agenda included an international biotech panel consisting of industry representatives who reviewed the current pipeline of biotech traits coming to the market and emphasized the importance of an improved regulatory process; an international regulatory panel of experts who discussed the reality of the regulatory situation, their personal experience with regulatory approval and insights on what needs to happen to affect change; an international farmer panel which discussed the importance of biotechnology and farmers’ ability to meet the critical challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050; and an international export / import panel of industry experts who discussed the impact of biotechnology regulation on their business and the industry as a whole.  The keynote address, given by Dr. Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes – Director of the Economics and Management of Agrobiotechnology Center (EMAC) and Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC) endowed professor of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri in Columbia, stressed the understanding the economic impact of synchronous approvals, their delay and the future of more efficient biotechnology regulation.
The current regulatory path takes an average 16.3 years to accomplish.  Symposium participants echoed a common theme throughout the meeting:  Like-minded countries will need to work together to streamline trade and approval processes.  As global demand for food continues to grow, USSEC continues to work as part of the solution.