The slow process of finalising China's restrictive policy on GM imports will not hinder trade, stressed trade negotiator Long Yongtu.

He added that there is likely to be a grace period for food imports, during which they will not have to adhere to the GM rules, which were announced in Beijing on 6 June but still have not been implemented.

Long, who is also vice-minister of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, explained that the process was taking so long because "we are very cautious, very careful to work out implementation rules to make sure that they are consistent with WTO rules".

The delay is frustrating traders however, particularly those involved in soyabeans.