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September 18, 2014


US-China talks on DDGS testing bog down

 


The United States and China have failed to settle a dispute on testing procedures that would ensure that the distiller's dried grains (DDGS) the latter imports is free from genetically-altered content.


Representatives from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) met late last week to discuss ways to successfully address China's concerns.


Reports, however, indicate that both sides could not reach any consensus on shipments already on the way or signed for.


China is the world's top DDGS customer for DDGS. It is set to buy no less than US$1 billion worth from the US this year alone.


"There is no agreement. It will be good if both sides apply same testing methods, which should be economic and efficient," news reports quoted a source familiar with the discussion.


China turned away 1.25 million tonnes of US corn and DDGS this year after discovering the presence of an unapproved genetically-modified (GMO) strain known as MIR 162, developed by Syngenta.


International trader Cargill and another firm have sued the Swiss-based seed maker, claiming that Syngenta's failure to win Chinese approval for the strain has cost them millions of dollars in losses.


China requires DDGs shipments from the US to be certified MIR 162 free and those that do not meet the requirement are refused entry.
 
The rule originally applied to shipments departing after July 24, but the cut-off date has now been postponed to Aug. 18.


According to reports, China prefers polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, which is more sensitive to genetic material. But the USconsiders the procedure time-consuming and expensive.

 
No date has been set for the next meeting between the two sides, the reports add.


China's quarantine authority has stopped issuing import permits to those companies delivering cargoes found to have contained MIR 162.


"Since there is no agreement, we are considering not paying supplier for the cargoes already on the way," one Chinese buyer was quoted in news reports as saying.


China's imports of US DDGS is expected to rise 57.5% on-year in 2014 to 6.3 million tonnes, said the China National Grain and Oils Information Centre (CNGOIC). Imports in the first seven months of the year rose 187% to 3.91 million tonnes, the reports add.

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