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China approves GM traits as trade talks proceed

By Matt Reese

As trade talks between the United States and China ramp up, China announced the long-awaited approval of five genetically modified crops. This is the first GM crop approval by China for import since July of 2017.

The approved products include two canola products, DowDuPont Inc’s DP4114 corn and DAS-44406-6 soybean, and the SYHT0H2 soybean from Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, but now owned by BASF. The Chinese approval of these GM crops is viewed by many as a positive sign in the ongoing trade war between China and the United States.

“The traits approval is a surprise. The talks in China involve a lot of people — it is not just one guy from each side sitting at the table. I think it is more than political posturing. That is what we have seen for months by both sides,” said Doug Tenney, with Leist Mercantile. “I expect that we will see an announcement of a trade deal sooner, not later.”

Tenney said U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross indicated that a trade deal “we can live with” could be reached.

“Here is the irony — with the government shutdown we are not getting the Thursday 8:30 a.m. weekly grain export sales report. Nor are we getting the daily 9 a.m. flash report of grain export sales. The trade now thinks that a Chinese government buying agency has purchased 5 million tons of U.S. soybeans,” Tenney said. “Imagine the excitement that farmers will share with each other when the government reopens and announces China bought 5 million tons of soybeans. We are in unchartered territory — I’m not sure how USDA will report this after the fact.”

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