BEIJING, 10/12/2001 (The Associated Press) - A U.S. negotiator demandedThursday that Beijing lift quarantine restrictions that threaten more than$1 billion in annual American soybean exports to China.The United States is China's main supplier of soybeans. But none of itssoybeans have been shipped to China since June due to uncertainty over newChinese inspection and quarantine rules and an as-yet undisclosed new lawon genetically altered foods.David Hegwood, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's top lawyer, saidChinese officials he met this week denied U.S. allegations that themeasures are protectionist. But he said they offered no clarification orrationale for the rules.The United States sees no evidence that the rules ``are anything butunfair trade restrictions,'' Hegwood told reporters after his meetings inBeijing.``We have seen no evidence that these are scientifically justified atleast in the manner in which they are being applied now,'' he said.Hedgwood said the procedures violate rules China will have to follow whenit formally joins the World Trade Organization, expected early next year.
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