Genetically modified (GM) agricultural bioproducts refer to plants, animals, microbes and associated products genetically modified through genetic engineering techniques for the purpose of agricultural production or agricultural produce processing. Import control on GM agricultural bioproducts varies according to their usage, i.e. whether they are for research and experiment, production, or processing as raw materials. GM agricultural bioproducts include the following:
• GM animals and plants (including seeds, stud stocks, and aquatic fries) and microbes;
• Products of GM animals, plants and microbes;
• Products directly processed from GM agricultural products; and
• Seeds, stud stocks, aquatic fries, pesticides, vet medicines, fertilisers and additives containing the elements of GM animals, plants, microbes or associated products.
(b) Safety Rating
GM agricultural bioproducts are classified into the following four categories according to their risks to mankind, animals and plants, microbes, and the ecological environment:
• Safety Rating I: no existing risk
• Safety Rating II: low risk
• Safety Rating III: medium risk
• Safety Rating IV: high risk
China adopts a labelling system for the management of GM agricultural bioproducts and publishes a catalogue accordingly. All GM agricultural bioproducts listed in the catalogue must be properly labelled if they are to be sold in the China market. Those not labelled or not labelled according to requirements may not be imported or sold.
The following is the first batch of GM agricultural bioproducts subject to labelling management.
• Soy bean seeds, soy bean, soy bean powder, soy bean oil and bean dregs
• Corn seeds, corn, corn oil, corn powder (including corn powder under tariff numbers 11022000, 11031300 and 11042300)
• Seeds of rape, rapeseed, rapeseed oil and rapeseed dregs
• Cotton seeds
• Tomato seeds, fresh tomatoes and tomato paste
(d) Entry Inspection
According to the Measures for Safety Management of Genetically Modified Agricultural Bioproducts, the import of GM agricultural bioproducts requires an application to be made to the Office for Safety Management of Genetically Modified Agricultural Bioproducts or Ministry of Agriculture for a safety certificate and import approval by submitting the relevant documents. The types of documents to be submitted depend on the usage of the GM agricultural bioproducts, namely whether they are for research and experiment, production, or processing as raw materials. Imports not accompanied by the relevant approval documents or safety certificate, or imports not compliant with the descriptions in the approval documents or safety certificate, will be returned or destroyed.
Inspection and quarantine authorities will carry out entry inspection against the approval documents and issue an Import Goods Clearance Slip upon satisfactory inspection and quarantine for customs clearance.