BIO Deutschland Provides Input to the Preparation of the German-Chinese Consultations

At the end of January 2007, BIO Deutschland was asked by the Federal Ministry of Economics to attend an advisory meeting about a memorandum of understanding in the field of biotechnology between the Federal Republic of Germany and the People’s Republic of China. On 14 September 2006, the German Federal Minister of Economics, Michael Glos, and Minister MaKa of the State Commission for the Development and Reform of the People’s Republic of China had previously signed a framework agreement on cooperation in the area of the medical economy and biotechnology.

In cooperation with other lobby groups, BIO Deutschland suggested four main thematic areas:

1. Biomedicine, diagnostics
2. Industrial biotechnology / Environmental biotechnology
3. Agro-biotechnology
4. Nutrition / Nutraceuticals / Functional food

The topics of nutrition (agro and functional food), industrialisation and the environmental issues resulting from it (industrial biotechnology and environmental biotechnology) and health (biomedicine and diagnostics) are certain to play a very important role in China in the future.

The association informed the Ministry that basically, German biotech companies are interested in the Chinese life sciences market. In a rapid survey of several companies from the biotech sector last year, the companies surveyed indicated that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their respective cooperation partners in the People’s Republic of China. This included cooperation in research, development and sales. Several firms have already founded subsidiaries in China or are in the process of doing so. The companies who were surveyed represent the wide range of biotechnological applications: biomedicine and pharmaceuticals, plant biotechnology, diagnostics, biotech services, industrial production processes (also known as white biotechnology), and medical and equipment technology.

However, the German companies also often indicated that a clear agreement on patents was a prerequisite for research and economic cooperation in order to secure their firm’s own expertise. Furthermore, China’s highly restrictive customs laws make it difficult to import sensitive samples, which play an important role in research cooperation.

A reduction of bureaucracy in granting short-term work permits in both countries would be of help in the rapid and smooth organisation of work experience or training programmes.

Another aspect that BIO Deutschland brought into the discussion was that of cluster structures and networks as a prerequisite for the development of a successful biotech sector, in which companies, scientific institutes and a supportive services environment work together.

A further consultation meeting will take place in June. Members of BIO Deutschland who are interested in participating and who have experience in this field are welcome to contact our office on tel: 030-2448 4087.

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