Funding of biotechnology research by the Ministry of Science and Technology totalled US$48m in 1999, up from US$8m in 1986, according to a report featured in Science magazine. Biotech research now accounts for 9.2 per cent of China’s total crop research budget, well above the developed world average of 2-5 per cent. The funds were invested in crops of 141 genetically-modified plants, such as cotton, wheat, soybean and tobacco, and plants have been approved for field trials, environmental release or commercialisation.
The report quoted the president of Monsanto Greater China, John Killmer, as saying that China had the most restrictive regulations on GMO crops in the world. He said this was designed to keep foreign companies out of China and away from its own biotechnology development programmes.