China Joins Free Market With Informational Labels
New rule requires GMO product labels
China Daily reports on that nation's big step toward a free market. At the same time, a few countries, led by the USA, cling to old anti-freedom anti-market ideas.
One of the fundamental principles of free markets is that without full disclosure and information, trades cannot be free. It is very, very ironic that a Communist country is taking a strong free-market step while the USA is working against free markets by opposing labels, levying protectionist tariffs, etc.
China started the implementation of its new rules on genetically modified organisms (GMO) on Wednesday March 20. The new rules required all imported genetically modified soya beans, corn, rapeseed, cotton seed and tomatoes to be clearly labelled as genetically modified products.
Furthermore, overseas firms that export genetically modified products to China must obtain certificates from China's Ministry of Agriculture to ensure their goods are safe.
Genetically modified imports that lack safety certificates and relevant papers will be returned to their ports of origin or destroyed, according to the new rules.
Fu Zhongwen, an official with the ministry's newly created GMO biosafety office, said the office will supervise the implementation of the new rules in conjunction with relevant government departments.
Dong Jingsheng, deputy secretary-general with the China Consumers' Association, spoke highly of the new rules in an interview last week. Dong said the rules can better ensure domestic consumers' rights to know the truth and make a choice, both of which are highlighted in China's Law on Protecting Consumers' Rights and Interests, which came into effect in 1993.
Sales offices with Beijing-based Jingkelong and French-funded Carrefour -- two big chain store groups in the capital -- both pledged to "strictly obey the new rules."
Cui Hong, an administrative officer with Jingkelong, said his company stopped the acceptance of unlabelled genetically modified products earlier this week.
Hongcheng Supermarket Group in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, has also made thorough measures to block unlabelled GMOs, local media reported on Wednesday. The report said Hongcheng and other major supermarkets in Guangzhou had cleared out genetically modified products without labels by the end of last month.
The United States shipped 1.9 million tons of soya beans to China between September 1 and December 6, up to 70 per cent of which had been genetically altered, according to the American Soybean Association.
Japan and the European Union have similar rules on genetically modified imports. So do many other countries. In the USA, no such labelling rules are in place to protect consumers, not even for children's foods.
Be sure to see Fred Foldvary's editorial on Genetically Manipulated Food
What's your opinion? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?