Agricultural Biotechnology

Biotechnology is a revolutionary tool that can change the agriculture sector.

Through the science of agricultural biotechnology, crops can be made resistant to certain diseases, to stressful environmental conditions and to some chemicals. The technology can reduce spoilage and make produce more nutritious. It has the potential to spur economic growth, increase productivity, reduce hunger and malnutrition, and lessen the impact of agriculture on the environment.

APEC ministers and leaders recognize how important it is to communicate to the public the value of such produce, and how important it is to make sure that these products are safe. The APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) is a recognition of this.

Through the HLPDAB, policy makers develop regulatory frameworks, facilitate technology transfers, encourage investment and strengthen public confidence in biotechnology in order to increase agricultural productivity and to protect the environment, with the ultimate objective of promoting food security.

The first high-level policy dialogues on agricultural biotechnology took place in 2002.

Last page update: January 2021

Current Activities

The latest HLPDAB plenary meeting (HLPDAB18), took place on 21 August 2019, during the 2019 APEC Food Security Week at Puerto Varas, Chile. Delegates received information on the current situation on policies and development of products of new breeding techniques in APEC and non-APEC economies and ongoing work in international fora of interest to the HLPDAB. They discussed innovative agricultural technologies that can be useful tools to enhance agriculture productivity, sustainability, resilience and food security. They also encouraged development and to maintain transparent, science- and risk-based regulations, while sharing information and experiences to raise awareness of the benefits to farmers, consumers and the environment.

The next annual HLPDAB meeting will take place in August 2020 in Malaysia, during the 2020 APEC Food Security Week.

HLPDAB Strategic Plan (2019–2021): This has three main objectives:

  1. Establish main mechanisms to ensure continued information exchange on economies’ experience with agricultural biotechnology and other innovative agricultural technologies
  2. Promote transparent, science-based and functioning regulatory systems to support the development, application and trade of innovative agricultural technologies and biotechnologies for the benefit of APEC member economies
  3. Facilitate the management of regulatory differences by endeavoring to develop solutions to global challenges with respect to innovative agricultural technologies—including trade-related issues—and improve the ability of APEC economies to communicate effectively about these issues

Activities for 2019: The HLPDAB aims to conduct activities to meet the objectives of the strategic plan, with particular focus on new agricultural and plant breeding techniques, biotechnology regulatory efficiency and harmonization, science communication, and policy perspectives on precision biotechnology. Notable activities will include:

1. Updating the APEC Baseline Study: Regulations of Products Derived from Innovative Agricultural Technologies and Identification of Ways to Promote Greater Efficiencies and Alignment (HLPDAB 01 2017T)

2. Workshop on Strengthening Regulatory Cooperation and Alignment for Agricultural Biotechnologies (USA)

Cross-cutting issues: The HLDAB has identified cross-cutting issues on food security, climate-smart agriculture, trade facilitation/eliminating market barriers and making the best use of natural resources with the Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group (ATCWG) and the Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS). The HLDAB shall identify and share relevant policy recommendations with both groups with a view to contribute to the preparation of the Food Security Ministerial agenda. The dialogue will also look into possible cross-fora collaboration in conducting APEC projects with relevant fora.

Related News

See all news


APEC HLPDAB Meeting and Workshop, 25-28 June 2013, Medan, Indonesia

The 12th Meeting of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) was hosted and chaired by Indonesia.

APEC HLPDAB Workshop, 8-12 June 2015, Manila, Philippines

The two-part workshop, Fostering the Benefits of Innovation in Plant Breeding and Science Communication, was conducted for APEC economy regulators and policy makers to gain knowledge of new innovations in plant breeding and lessons in science communication.

APEC HLPDAB Meeting, 30 September – 1 October 2015, Iloilo City, Philippines

The 14th Meeting of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) was hosted and chaired by the Philippines.