Biotech corporation Syngenta’s GMO corn (known as MIR 162 or ‘Agrisure Viptera’) was recently refused by Chinese officials when shipped to the country, yet a spokesperson from the Big Ag company, Paul Minehart, “expects that the Chinese government will still approve” their prematurely released crop which is now in the subject of several US lawsuits by miffed corn-growers.
Those who grew MIR 162 were assured by Syngenta that China had already approved the corn before they even started growing it. Obviously this is not the case, since China has refused several billion tons of GM corn coming from the US already. Syngenta claims the current lawsuits directed against them by US farmers are baseless. Minehart says that he will make an official announcement when China does approve the crop for import.
If China does indeed approve the GM corn, it would reverse a decision to refuse shipments since November of 2013. It is still not understood whether the commentary by Syngenta represents wishful thinking, or an actual break-through to China’s officials concerning the approval of their MIR 162 product. Syngenta has waited four years thus far for approval.
The U.S. grain Council – who has also taken heat from farmers based on Syngenta’s premature declaration of the Chinese acceptance of Syngenta’s GM corn crop – was hoping that approval would come in the next few days, but this was reported in early December of 2014.
One of the only reasons for China to have a change of heart about accepting the Syngenta corn is that rival exporters in the Ukraine are struggling to honor contracts due to shortages.
Another factor is the recent jump in ethanol refined corn which comes from dried corn grain.
Representatives from China’s embassy in Washington, D.C., could not be reached for comment by Reuters.
Gary Martin, chief executive of the North American Export Grain Association says that:
“Chinese approval of imports would represent “news that’s four years coming.”
Martin believes it should have been done in 2011 and something held it up.
Quite possibly, like Russia, China has realized that GM crops are toxic, and don’t wish to import more of them into their food supply.
Cargill Inc and Archer Daniels Midland Co, along with dozens of U.S. farmers have sued Syngenta for selling MIR 162 corn without obtaining import approval from China, one of the major buyers for US grown corn.
In April 2014, the National Grain and Feed Association estimated that farmers would lose at least $1 billion in the refusal of MIR 162 corn shipments to China.