August 11, 2003, just-food.com:
As China’s soybean imports soar to more than double
for the same time last year, the Chinese government is taking a closer
look at importation regulations and, after reporting phytosanitary
violations in a Brazilian shipment, has decided they are too lax.
As a result China is planning to impose tougher restrictions on the
import of soybeans.
Embassy officials from Argentina, Brazil and the US, the top soy producers
in the world, have been notified of the new restrictions by Chinese
quarantine authorities, trade sources told Reuters.
Sources at the Brazilian embassy in the Chinese capital of Beijing
confirmed that Chinese officials had told them that phytosanitary
problems had been discovered in shipments, and that as a result measures
might be taken to protect the Chinese market and the environment.
The Chinese quarantine authorities are reported to have been slow
in handing out import permits in recent weeks, often leaving ships
stranded offshore. Traders are quoted as saying they suspect that
China is simply determined to control the market, and is using the
GMO issue or alleged phytosanitary problems as a useful pretext.