Major revisions to China's Seed Law began Friday to better regulate the industry, which is second only to the United States.
A draft amendment to the Seed Law was submitted to the top legislature for a second reading at the start of the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress. The meeting will last from Friday to Wednesday.
Under the amendment, barriers will be removed for those applying for a seed production and trade license, the government hopes to stimulate innovation at the industry-level so China can compete with foreign seed giants.
The draft left the major-crop seed approval system unchanged. This stipulates that the seeds of major crops -- rice, corn, wheat, soybean and cotton -- must be approved by agricultural regulators before they hit the market.
The draft also increases penalties for selling counterfeit or sub-standard seeds, allowing buyers to demand compensation not only from sellers but also from producers. The trade of counterfeit seed is rampant in China.
The draft law adopted a prudent attitude toward GM seeds, saying that the breeding, testing and promotion of GM seeds must be assessed and controlled.
Agricultural and forestry authorities should strengthen their management of GM seeds and release information in a timely manner.