WASHINGTON - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman and United States Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick today issued the following statement regarding U.S.-China discussions in Beijing on American exports of biotech farm products:
"We're pleased that China appears to appreciate our concerns and has said that it is developing an interim arrangement to reduce trade disruptions and address our specific concerns including approvals, market access, and labeling. It's a step in the right direction. China has indicated that it will publish the details of the arrangement soon, and we look forward to reviewing them closely.
"China is a key market for American farmers - we exported over $1 billion in soybeans to China last year. President Bush visited China last month where a major part of his discussions with Chinese leaders was agriculture and the importance of biotechnology. China's entry into the WTO offers the potential for even greater opportunities for U.S. exports."
The United States has sought to ensure that trade is not disrupted when China's new biotech regulations go into effect on March 20th. Following up on President Bush's discussions in China recently, an inter-agency team from USTR, USDA, and the State Department has been meeting with their Chinese counterparts.