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US officials in China discuss soybean biotech rules

US officials in China discuss soybean biotech rules
WASHINGTON - U.S. agriculture and trade specialists are meeting this week with Chinese counterparts to further discuss Beijing\'s new regulations for allowing the import of genetically-modified soybeans, a U.S. Agriculture Department officials said yesterday.
The meeting is one of a series of \"technical level\" discussions being held in China between Beijing and Washington officials, said David Hegwood, USDA\'s special trade adviser said. The future of foreign shipments of soybeans to China have been clouded by Beijing\'s new biotech regulations. China is a $1 billion a year market for the U.S. soybean industry and about 70 percent of its crop is grown from genetically-modified seeds. This week, USDA said 55,000 tonnes of soybeans were shipped out of the U.S. Pacific Northwest destined for China. The shipment marked the first delivery since the new biotech rules took shape. Hegwood said there likely will be additional technical-level meetings between U.S. and Chinese officials, although none were scheduled. But he said he knew of no problems yet related to China\'s implementation of the rules. In recent months, there has been confusion over how exporters would get licenses for shipping biotech soybeans to China, as well as uncertainty over which soy products would be covered by the regulations. China says its regulations are aimed at ensuring that foreign-grown soybeans do not present a threat to human health. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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