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US farmers urge easing of barriers to investment in China

Staff writer |
US agriculture companies are seeking increased cooperation with China and urging loosening of investment restrictions and trade barriers, especially in biotechnology, said a report from the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

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At the release of the Policy Spotlight on Agriculture report, James Zimmerman, chairman of AmCham China, applauded continued cooperation between US companies and China but said: "There is so much more that can be achieved by increased engagement between companies and government in areas such as seed research, more efficient distribution and freer trade."

The report said that removing restrictions on foreign investment in agriculture and agriculture technology would help unleash domestic productivity potential that enhances food security but also encourages innovation by local companies.

Gao Yong, co-chair of the agriculture forum at AmCham, said: "US companies can contribute and help accelerate China's seed industry modernization by bringing new tools and technologies to China."

The latest draft of the Guiding Catalog on Foreign Investment, released in November, restricted all foreign investment in biotech cultivation, including crop breeding and seed production.

US companies also asked the Ministry of Agriculture to approve genetically modified imports in a timely, transparent and scientific fashion to facilitate trade flows and avoid trade disruption, which supports China's national food security strategy, said Gao.

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