The International Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology Research (ICABR)

Biotechnology and the WTO: Implications for US-China Grain Trade

Fengqin Zhao, Thomas Wahl and Jill McCluskey


China’s is exploring the adoption of GMO wheat, rice, and corn. Adoption of these crops in the US has been mixed because of consumer reaction, both domestic and in some importing countries. The potential effects on a ban of GMO imports is potentially devastating to GMO producers and the companies that own the technologies. The WTO agreement allows bans that are based upon internationally accepted science, but the debate on the implications for GMO continues. China has suggested that it will ban the imports of GMO crops if other countries are allowed to do so.

The November 1999, US-China bilateral WTO agreement eliminates trade barriers on agricultural products. However, the potential effects on trade in GMO products is unclear. To examine these effects on China and US grain markets, a multi_region, multi_commodity partial equilibrium model is estimated. The effects of alternative trade liberalization scenarios, including restrictions on trade in GMO crops and the effects on US biotechnology firms, are examined.

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