Enabling Trade in Gene-Edited Produce in Asia and Australasia: The Developing Regulatory Landscape and Future Perspectives

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Genome- or gene-editing (abbreviated here as GEd) presents great opportunities for crop improvement. This is especially so for the countries in the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to more than half of the worlds growing population. A brief description of the science of gene-editing is provided with examples of GEd products. For the benefits of GEd technologies to be realized, international policy and regulatory environments must be clarified, otherwise non-tariff trade barriers will result. The status of regulations that relate to GEd crop products in Asian countries and Australasia are described, together with relevant definitions and responsible regulatory bodies. The regulatory landscape is changing rapidly: in some countries, the regulations are clear, in others they are developing, and some countries have yet to develop appropriate policies. There is clearly a need for the harmonization or alignment of GEd regulations in the region: this will promote the path-to-market and enable the benefits of GEd technologies to reach the end-users