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China’s Corn Imports Drop as Inspectors Reject GMO-Tainted Grain

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Corn imports into China, the second-biggest consumer of the grain, slumped in January as inspectors rejected some shipments that contained a gene-modified variety developed by Syngenta AG.

Imports were 650,985 metric tons last month compared with 821,110 tons in December, data by Beijing-based customs agency show. Before the refusals of grain containing the MIR 162 strain started in November, the country had made record orders for deliveries in the year through Aug. 31.

Rejections of U.S. corn cause losses to farmers and traders from the world’s biggest supplier. As of Feb. 6, there were 1.5 million tons of undelivered contracts for China, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“New orders for U.S. corn have virtually stopped and it looks certain the standoff won’t change soon,” said Cherry Zhang, an analyst from Shanghai JC Intelligence Co., a private research company. China’s Ministry of Agriculture will hold a meeting in March to review the safety of MIR 162, she said.

Corn for May delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade was little changed at $4.62 a bushel at 4:10 p.m. Beijing time. Futures have advanced 9.5 percent this year.

Inspectors rejected 601,000 tons of genetically altered corn and products derived from the grain last year, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Jan. 6, citing the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine in Beijing.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: William Bi in Beijing at wbi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Miller at bmiller30@bloomberg.net

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