Keith Good: Viptera Corn Ban Lifted by China; Wheat Prices Soaring

    China: Trade-Biotech

    Gregory Meyer reported yesterday at The Financial Times Online that, “China has approved imports of biotech corn developed by Syngenta, a senior US official said on Wednesday, after blocking the variety last year at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to trading houses.

    “The decision to allow sales of corn containing the genetically modified Agrisure Viptera trait developed by the Swiss-based crop chemical group could reopen a promising market for US farmers.”

    Reuters writer Tom Polansek reported yesterday that, “A top Chinese government official said the country has approved imports of genetically modified Agrisure Viptera corn and two varieties of biotech soybeans after years of review, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday.

    “Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang said imports of Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, had been approved by China’s Ministry of Agriculture, Vilsack told reporters at a U.S.-China trade forum in Chicago. The ministry also approved imports of biotech soybeans developed by DuPont Pioneer and Bayer CropScience, he added. Vilsack said he did not know the names of the soybean varieties.”

    Reuters writers Michael Hirtzer and Karl Plume reported yesterday that, “Despite molding corn stocks and unreliable alternate suppliers, China is not expected to immediately revive U.S. corn imports following Beijing’s expected approval of a biotech variety responsible for a year-long halt to shipments.”

    Also yesterday, Reuters writer Tom Polansek reported that, “With expectations rising that China will soon approve imports of a genetically modified corn variety developed by Syngenta AG, the seed maker dropped a lawsuit against Bunge North America over the agribusiness company’s refusal to handle the controversial grain, court documents show.

    “The settlement clears up a long-running legal dispute over Syngenta’s genetically modified Agrisure Viptera corn and probably precedes an eventual decision by Bunge to begin accepting the grain, also known as MIR 162, as the China market opens up.”

    Chuin-Wei Yap reported today at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “China’s surprise decision to reverse a ban on imports of a genetically modified strain of corn paves the way for the resumption of what was once a booming market for a byproduct fed to Chinese livestock.

    “The market for distillers dried grains, which is formed when corn is processed into ethanol, was hit when China late last year halted what would eventually be more than one million metric tons of corn and corn-related imports from the U.S. That corn was found to contain MIR 162, an insect-resistant strain of GMO corn made by Swiss seed maker Syngenta A.G . and exported by U.S. producers. The strain was at the time illegal in China, but permitted in Europe and the U.S.”

    The Journal article added that, “U.S. corn exporters may not benefit from China’s latest decision on the matter, analysts say. China is awash in the grain, and early indications are that this year’s corn harvest stands at around 200 million tons, which is roughly the same as last year, they say. The China National Grain and Oils Information Center estimates that some 69 million tons of corn, or about a third of national output, is in state storage.

    “‘There is a lot of corn in China’s grain stockpiles, and the question is in fact whether we should continue to store,’ said Hu Huating, an analyst with Zheshang Tianma Futures.

    “But DDG, as the distilled byproduct is called, could benefit. China doesn’t produce DDG, while the U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of these distillers grains. Chinese DDG imports rose 67% in 2013 to 4 million metric tons, according to customs data.”

    Crop Watch

    David Kesmodel and Jesse Newman reported yesterday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “U.S. wheat prices soared to a nearly seven-month high, fueled by speculation that Russian shipments abroad would fall after the country tightened export rules as it grapples with high food inflation.

    “Wheat futures surged 4.1%, the biggest one-day gain on the Chicago Board of Trade since Dec. 1, as traders bet that Russian restrictions could boost overseas demand for U.S. inventories of the grain.”

    The Journal article noted that, “Wheat for March delivery jumped 25.25 cents to $6.485 a bushel in Chicago trading, the highest closing price since May 23… . [U.]S. corn prices also rose Wednesday, helped in part by gains in wheat. The grains often move in tandem because both are used in animal feed.

    “Corn for March delivery added 2.25 cents, or 0.6%, to $4.0825 a bushel.”

    The Latest

    Send press releases to

    View All Events

    [ecs-list-events limit="5" key="start date" order="asc"]
    Send press releases to

    View All Events