On Tuesday, three sources at a large Chinese importer told Reuters that China’s bio-safety committee had cleared the seeds from a food safety standpoint.
Yesterday, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said imports of Syngenta AG’s Viptera corn, also known as MIR 162, had been approved by China’s Ministry of Agriculture. Two biotech soybeans developed by DuPont Pioneer and Bayer CropScience were also approved.
Bayer has waited seven years for China to approve a soybean called LL55. Unlike Syngenta, which is accused of aggressively and recklessly marketing Viptera before it was approved in China, Bayer delayed sales of the soybean while awaiting China’s clearance.
Syngenta, DuPont, and Bayer are still waiting for official word on the import approvals. The final decision likely will not come until January or February next year.
China’s sluggish approval roiled the American corn market last year. Farmers lost at least $1 billion after China rejected imports of GMO-tainted corn in November 2013. That sparked several class actions — recently centralized in federal court in Kansas — alleging that Syngenta misled farmers about the imminent approval of GMO corn in China, resulting in devastating economic losses.
Although the seed was only planted on 3% of corn acres in the United States, much of the nation’s supply was tainted due to cross-pollination and contamination during storage and transport. An estimated 1.2 million metric tons of corn seed were rejected, which sent the price of corn plummeting.
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