The FDA’s expansion into China is well underway, but additional inspectors are on hold because Chinese officials are not issuing visas to agency employees, Christopher Hickey, director of the FDA’s China Office, said Thursday at a roundtable hosted by the Alliance for a Stronger FDA.

“This issue is being addressed at the highest level of our governments, and there has been significant activity in recent weeks,” Hickey told a Washington, D.C. audience via webcast from Beijing.

Obtaining visas can be a lengthy process, Arnall Golden Gregory partner Mike Burke notes. “It’s possible that the visa delay is aimed at trying to secure something for the People’s Republic of China side — which may or may not be related to FDA’s work,” he told DID later the same day.

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