To maintain self-sufficiency in rice production and national food security, the Chinese government strongly supports research that aims at increasing the productivity of rice cultivation. Rice with genetic material from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt rice) is transgenic rice that can reduce lepidopteran pest damage and the use of insecticides. It was developed in the 1990s and earned biosafety certificates in 2009. However, because of political reasons, its commercialization in China has been postponed, and, to date, Bt rice is not grown in China. We assess the opportunity cost of postponement of Bt rice
commercialization in China between the years 2009 and 2019 and consider the external costs of pesticide use and potential technology spill-overs of Bt rice. We estimate the cost of postponement of Bt rice over the analyzed period to be 12 billion United States (US) dollars per year.