Canadian International Council

Canadian International Council

July 08, 2010 11:56 ET

Grand Bargain Between Canada, China and the US Around GE Regulation Needed, New CIC Paper Argues

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 8, 2010) - China's position regarding the issue of agricultural biotechnology is closer to the international majority position and global civil society preferences than is the Canadian position. Canada should move toward globally accepted regulations, especially as it enjoys majority support among Canadian voters. A grand bargain between China, Canada and the US around genetic engineering (GE) regulation would advance food safety concerns with China and Canada-China trade, strengthen civil society linkages between Canada and China, and strengthen ties between consumer organizations, concludes a new paper released today by the Canadian International Council (CIC).

The Global Governance of Biotechnology: Mediating Chinese and Canadian Interests argues that opportunities for Canadian biotech companies and for agricultural exports will be greater if there is more regulatory convergence between China and Canada.

"The regulatory side of technology has put Canada and China in different international camps. While Canada has adopted permissive regulations that see GE crops as equivalent to conventional ones and do not require mandatory labelling, China has followed a more precautionary approach with much slower approval for the production of GE crops and mandatory labelling," says Yves Tiberghien, author of the paper.

Dr. Tiberghien's paper argues that there is significant convergence at the level of business, scientific, NGO and consumer interests, which offers opportunities for sub-state linkages and cooperation between Canada and China. Regulatory convergence will require movement on the Canadian side, and Canada would be wise to move toward globally accepted regulations.

Yves Tiberghien is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Colombia. The Global Governance of Biotechnology: Mediating Chinese and Canadian Interests is part of the CIC's 2010 China Paper series.

For more information on The Global Governance of Biotechnology: Mediating Chinese and Canadian Interests or the CIC, please visit:

The Canadian International Council (CIC) is an independent, member-based council established to strengthen Canada's role in international affairs. The CIC reflects the ideas and interests of a broad constituency of Canadians who believe that a country's foreign policy is not an esoteric concern of experts but directly affects the lives and prosperity of its citizens. The CIC uses its deep historical roots, its cross-country network and its active research program to advance debate on international issues across academic disciplines, policy areas and economic sectors. The CIC's research program is managed by the national office in Toronto. Its 15 branches across Canada offer CIC members speakers' programs, study groups, conferences and seminars.

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