context: Positive signals stem from the mention for the first time of the issue of agricultural seed at 2020’s Central Economic Work Conference. The issue has already been emphasised by a number of top officials since beginning 2021. The market believes ‘the prospect for GM seeds is now promising and the policy direction of promoting GM commercialisation is certain.

MARA (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs) approved and published the list of genetically modified organisms (GMO) biosecurity certificate (second batch of 2020) for import and domestic production and applications, valid from 29 Dec 2020 to 28 Dec 2025, covering

  • 5 GM varieties, import for processing use, including
    • insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant corn MON87411 by Bayer Crop Science
    • herbicide-tolerant cotton GHB614 by BASF Seeds
  • 21 GM varieties and products for domestic production and applications, including
    • 14 newly approved, including Escherichia coli live vector vaccine BL21(DE3)/pEASY-E1/tsh expressing tsh gene
    • 7 renewals of certificates, including transgenic cry1Ab and epsps gene insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant corn DBN9936 for production and application in China’s northwest corn zone, applied for by Beijing Dabeinong Biotech Ltd

For two more GM crops it cultivates, Beijing Dabeinong Technology has applied to be granted certificates, and these are currently subject to public consultation. They are

  • GM corn, DBN9501, suitable production zone: northern spring corn zone
  • GM soybean, DBN9004, suitable production zone: northern spring soybean zone

Biosecurity certificates are only the first step in the commercialisation of GM crops. Prior to business licensing, a compulsory procedure is the variety review, according to the Seed Law. A special measure guiding GM soybean and corn variety reviews, however, is still lacking.

Despite obstacles, industry insiders predict commercial licenses for GM corn and soybeans will come within two years. A person familiar with the matter disclosed that a batch of domestically cultivated GM corn varieties was tested in 2020 and if policy permits, the variety review can be completed in 2021, cites Caixin.