Syngenta, one of the world’s leading crop protection companies, has been purchased by China. US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has serious concerns about what this deal will mean for biotech innovation. During a press conference at Commodity Classic last week, Vilsack expressed strong concerns about how the purchase of the Swiss-based Syngenta by China will impact China’s approval process for biotech trades, “What is going to mean in terms of their regulatory process; is anyone going to get a home field advantage? “ Vilsack is concerned that Beijing will give approval to Syngenta technology, but withhold approval from competitors.
He called on China to move to a science-based system of approval for biotechnology, “We need to see more consistency from China because right now they are a problem. There is no predictability to what they do except when a Chinese official visits the US or a US official visits China; then we get approval.” He called for a level playing field and a coordinated schedule of approval when it comes to biotech products.
The Secretary said, so far, he has not received any assurance from China or the company, “Maybe they can reassure me, but I think the question should be raised. I think there should be some indication from China or the company exactly what is this going to mean. It’s a fair question.”
Meanwhile here at home, critics of the EPA say US regulations and approval must also be based on science and not politics or ideology.