China approved two new genetically modified (GM) crops for import on Monday that could boost agricultural purchases from the United States, while renewing permits for 10 others, the agriculture ministry said.
The move comes after Beijing and Washington agreed to sign a Phase 1 trade deal earlier this month. The United States has demanded that China change its GM crop import application process to make it more transparent, timely and based on scientific methods.
China has also agreed to import more farm goods from the U.S. under the initial deal.
The two new GM crops approved were Corteva AgriScience's DAS-81419-2 soybean and 55-1 papaya, jointly developed by the United States Department of Agriculture and Hawaii University.
Corteva was the agricultural unit of DowDuPont prior to being spun off as an independent public company.
"This further expands channels for imports of U.S. agricultural products, and helps pave the way for buying more U.S. soybeans," said Li Qiang, chief analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. Ltd.
"Approval of the papaya variety could help promote more fruit imports from the U.S.," Li added.
The United States is the world's biggest producer of GM crops, while China is the top importer of GM soybeans and canola.
U.S. farmers and global seed companies have long complained about Beijing's slow and unpredictable process for approving GM crops for import, stoking trade tensions between the world's two largest economies.
China also renewed permission for imports of 10 other GM products, including BASF developed T25 corn, A5547-127 soybean, T45 canola, Oxy-235 canola, and Ms8Rf3 canola.
Bayer-owned Monsanto Far East Ltd's MON89788 soybean, 15985 cotton and H7-1 beet were also reapproved, along with DuPont subsidiary Pioneer's 305423 soybean and 305423Ã—GTS40-3-2 soybean.
All approvals took effect from Dec. 2 2019 and would last for three years, according to a statement on the agriculture ministry's website.