China Says Not Ready to Import Genetically Modified Corn Variety

China said the country isn’t ready to import a variety of corn genetically modified for insect resistance, after 12 batches containing the so-called MIR 162 grain from the U.S. were rejected.

The MIR 162 corn “hasn’t received safety certification, so it cannot be imported,” Vice Minister Niu Dun said at a press conference in Beijing at the conclusion of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. Niu was speaking after talks attended by officials including U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

As of yesterday, 12 shipments of U.S. corn totaling 545,000 metric tons were found with MIR 162 and rejected, according to China’s quarantine authority. More refusals may cut shipments to the world’s second-biggest economy, which had placed a record order of 5.9 million tons this year.

“It’s certain now that China won’t allow this variety anytime soon, so it’ll likely deter more shipments,” Li Qiang, the chairman of Shanghai JC Intelligence Co., said from Shanghai.

Corn for March delivery fell 0.5 percent to $4.2825 at 6:14 p.m. Beijing time. The most-active contract has slumped 39 percent this year amid record crop from the U.S.

The trip by Vilsack had raised expectations that the U.S. could place some pressure on China to resolve the issue more quickly, according to Li. “But this was a last-minute and relatively smaller item in the grand scheme of the two nations’ trade,” he said.

China will strive to reach an agreement as the basis of establishing exports of U.S. beef by July 2014, Niu said. The agreement will address issues include the tracing of its safety, range of products and feed, he said.

The U.S. will also conduct a final evaluation on the safety of cooked poultry products from China, and China hopes to begin the trade next year, Niu said.

— With assistance by William Bi

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