Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon: Global

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon: Global

Article excerpt

This column does not often find common cause with American farmers, nor with farmers of the developed world in general. But it has become necessary to do so, thanks to some brazen protectionist policies on the part of China. Last year, China announced it was going to ban the import of all genetically modified crops. This promised particularly serious problems for American agriculture, given that China has in recent years imported as much as $1 billion worth of genetically modified soya from the USA.

Opponents of genetic engineering will no doubt be tempted to applaud China's lead: why should a country be forced to accept imports of GM foods, they might argue, when the need for them has not been proven and their danger is apparent? That argument might hold were it not for the fact that China sees no problem in conducting its own research into genetically modified foods. In fact, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology spent $48 million on research into GM foods in 1999 and has 141 different GM crops under development. …

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