President Donald Trump on Tuesday was expected to sign an executive order meant to streamline regulations and cut costs associated with biotechnology, the White House announced.
The order would pressure international trading partners — including China — to lift barriers in the biotech industry, which creates products such as pesticides and genetically engineered plants bred to resist diseases, three sources told CNBC.
Officials from the White House and relevant agencies — the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency — briefed affected companies on a call earlier Tuesday, according to three participants.
The order was viewed as a way to bolster the bottom line of farmers caught in the crosshairs of Trump's trade war with China, the sources said.
Officials stressed the need for domestic and international rules to be standardized to avoid disrupting trade and to allow quicker approvals for products developed in the U.S. but sold overseas, the participants said.
U.S. soybean farmers in particular are affected by regulations that keep them from selling genetically modified products in some international markets, including China, Brazil and the European Union, without certain clearances.
A factsheet released by the White House said securing regulatory approvals for genetically engineered agricultural products can take up to a decade.
The order "will help eliminate delays, reduce developer costs, and provide greater certainty about the review process for farmers," the White House said in the release.
The announcement was released as Trump spoke at a rally in Iowa, where he criticized China on trade and touted his support for farmers.