US corn flowing to China despite lack of deal on GMO strain

Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:55pm GMT

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Dec 23 (Reuters) - U.S. exporters continue to ship corn to China despite the failure of a trade mission to secure Beijing's approval for a genetically modified variety that has triggered the rejection by China of nearly a third of all U.S. shipments this season, government data on Monday showed.

China's quarantine authority has turned away 545,000 tonnes of U.S. corn in November and December because shipments contained Syngenta AG's MIR 162 corn, a GMO variety that has been awaiting China's approval for more than two years.

Exporters had hoped that talks held by the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, which wrapped up in Beijing on Monday, would speed the approval process, but no agreement was reached.

During the bilateral forum, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressed the U.S. view that China must streamline its biotech approval process, USDA said on Monday.

U.S. corn export inspections of shipments to China totaled 8.033 million bushels, or about 204,000 tonnes, in the week ended Dec. 19, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That was down from about 245,500 tonnes in shipments the previous week and 370,700 tonnes two weeks earlier.

China had been the top destination for U.S. corn in each of the previous five weeks before yielding the top spot last week to Mexico, which was shipped more than 11 million bushels, USDA data showed. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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