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China Cites GMO Strain, Rejects Fifth Corn Cargo from U.S. This Month

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Published on : Dec 13, 2013

China continues to keep a strict control on imported products. The latest case in point is the 59,100-ton corn cargo from the United States that was rejected saying that it contained a genetically-modified strain of corn that the country has not approved for import thus far. Three more corn cargos that follow this rejected cargo are also likely to be refused by China. 

The cargo that reached a port in the Zhejiang province was turned away after quarantine officials detected an insect-resistant GMO strain—MIR 162—in the corn. This strain has not been warranted yet by China’s agriculture ministry, according to a report by Reuters.

China is the second largest consumer of corn in the world; but the country has refused almost 180,000 tons of imported varieties of grain since November 2013. However, market observers opine that the refusal to accept cargo could be linked to the trade disputes between the U.S. and China than genuine concerns about the quality of corn. 

According to a domestic corn trader, these actions have caused significant troubles in the market and these seem to be linked to the trade quarrels more than other issues.

In addition to the reasons cited by Chinese officials, observers say that the corn surplus in China is growing and this could be one of the reasons for China refusing grain cargos. The fact that the animal feed industry has been witnessing weak consumption doesn’t help either. It is anticipated that this year, China will notch a record corn yield with a 5.9% spike in the corn output in 2013-14. In view of this, it is also anticipated that the cargo coming in from other countries in the future will also be met with the same stringent inspection.

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