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Sino-US co-op dialogue to advance
( 2002-07-31 10:24 ) (1 )

The United States and China have agreed to continue dialogue at multiple levels to make the most of their agricultural co-operation and trade relationship, a leading US official said on Tuesday in Beijing.

Visiting US Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman said China is an important country from an agricultural perspective for the United States.

There has been a "tremendous amount of common interest" in research and co-operative issues between the two countries, she said at the end of her four-day visit.

The two sides agreed to launch a joint working group on regulatory issues on farm products and bio-technology, she said.

The secretary also said her country wants to strengthen the "Agreement on US-China Agricultural Co-operation," which the pair of countries signed three years ago.

Agriculture "is a bright spot in our opportunities for co-operation," she said. "We want to make sure that both countries are able to take full advantage of the synergies that we have in trade, so we are working on issues that are unresolved."

Veneman's counterpart, Minister of Agriculture Du Qinglin, said he expected the United States to better implement the landmark US-China farm pact.

China has so far carried out its obligations in the 1999 agreement, with wheat, citrus fruit and many other US farm produce already flowing into the Chinese market, Du said.

But Chinese products, such as pears and longans, are hard to find in the United States, largely because it has not acted on promises in the agreement to expedite import approval.

Du also called on the United States to deliver on the technical co-operation and assistance initiatives specified in the agreement.

Veneman said that in her talks with Chinese officials, she received repeated assurances that China's new regulations on genetically modified products will not be carried out in a way that will "disrupt" trade.

Nearly 70 per cent of the US soybeans shipped to China are genetically altered.

Du said China's safety regulations on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are necessary and in line with international practice.



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