context: GM certification has been an ongoing discussion in state and commercial media, but official information has not been released on the MARA website. An official announcement is expected after public comments close on 20 Jan 2020.

MARA (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs) released 2019 GMO (genetically-modified organism) biosafety certificates for public comment, reports CCTV and Caixin. Two lists of certificates were released, one for domestic GMOs and one for imported GMOs, including

  • 281 biosafety certificates for domestic plants
    • GM insect-resistant cotton
      • 79 renewed insect-resistant species
      • 189 new insect-resistant species
    • GM plant bacteria agent
      • one renewed product
    • GM animal vaccines and biological agents
      • nine new products
    • GM herbicide-tolerant corn, including two species
      • DBN9936 corn, produced by Beijing Dabeinong Tech Co.
      • Shuangkang 12-5 corn, produced by Hangzhou Ruifeng Biotechnology Co. and Zhejiang University
    • GM herbicide-tolerant soybean
      • SHZD32-01 soybean, produced by Shanghai Jiaotong University
  • 12 biosafety certificates for imported species, including
    • 10 renewed safety certificates
    • 2 newly approved imported insect-resistant soybeans and disease-resistant papaya

This is the first time since 2009 that the state has issued biosafety certificates for domestically produced GM staple crops, notes Caixin. This shows progress in domestic GM R&D, and the state’s capacity to guarantee GM biosafety, says Chen Rumei 陈茹梅 CAAS (Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) researcher, adding fall armyworm concerns speed up GM corn review.

An academic paper by Wu Kongming 吴孔明 CAAS vice dean found evidence of GM corn’s anti-fall armyworm effects.

Commercialisation of GM crops generally starts with non-edible cash crops, followed by feed crops, and then food crops, says Liao Xiyuan 廖西元 MARA GM Office director.