Argentina Expects China to Agree on Corn Imports

(Corrects translation error to say first half in first paragraph.)

Argentina, the second-largest corn exporter, expects to agree on supplies to China in the first half of 2011, Minister of Agriculture Julian Dominguez said.

China, the second-biggest corn user, has made no commitment yet to buy, Dominguez told reporters in Beijing. Argentina may have 20 million tons of corn surplus next year, he said.

Argentina was in talks with China on a so-called sanitary protocol that would allow it to export the grain to the Asian nation, the South American nation’s Ministry of Agriculture said Nov. 12. It expects to speed up discussions with China next year to become an alternative supplier, the ministry said, without providing further details. China’s Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu held talks with Dominguez last month in Argentina.

China, the second-biggest corn consumer, has bought about 1.5 million tons of the grain from the U.S. this year, the most since about 1995, as the government sought to cool local prices that surged about 27 percent in the year before November, when the government began a crackdown on inflation. Prices of corn in Chicago surged 53 percent in the same period partly on expectation China may need to boost imports to meet demand.

--William Bi. Editor: Tom Kohn

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: William Bi in Beijing at +86-10-6649-7578 or wbi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jim Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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