February 10, 2014


China rejected over 600,000 tonnes of US corn due to unapproved GMO



Chinese importers have cancelled purchases for four cargoes of US corn in February 2014, citing unapproved genetically-modified strain, after one cargo was diverted to Vietnam, according to US government data.


In the current marketing year, 220,000 tonnes of corn shipment have been cancelled by China, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Instrad, these cargoes have been shipped to Vietnam, Japan, South Korea and Spain.


Since November, China has rejected more than 600,000 tonnes of US corn as shipments contained Agrisure Viptera or MIR 162 corn, a GMO strain developed by Syngenta Ag, the world's largest crop chemicals company.


Syngenta has commitments to sell its entire supply of a genetically modified corn variety which is not approved by China, said US Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack. Vilsack noted that China had recently approved a number of renewals allowing other corn and soybean products into the country.


According to Reuters, two leading US grain groups asked Syngenta last month to suspend the commercial use of Viptera and Duracade, new strains of corn that the company plans to roll out this year, until the Chinese approvals are sorted out.


As China's reviews of genetically modified traits come after the United States clears the technology, this can create a lag. Viptera received US approval in 2010 and has been used in the US, Argentina and Brazil for three years.


While US officials and trade groups have tried to speed up the approval process, the matter is unlikely to be resolved until at least spring. Meanwhile, although demand from China has declined, other buyers, especially top importer, Japan, have accelerated US corn purchases as prices are kept low.