By Roberta Rampton
ON BOARD AIR FORCE ONE Feb 7 Syngenta AG
, the world's largest crop chemicals company, has
commitments to sell its entire supply of a genetically modified
corn variety that is not approved by China, U.S. Agriculture
Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Friday.
Vilsack said whether or not China eventually approves the
corn, known as Agrisure Viptera or MIR 162, it was still being
sold and that Syngenta has "basically have sold out" of its
supply for the 2014 growing season.
Chinese authorities have rejected some 600,000 tonnes of
U.S. corn since November because they contained MIR 162, which
has not been approved for use there. Two leading U.S. grain
groups asked Syngenta last month to suspend the commercial use
of Viptera and Duracade, a new strain of corn that the company
plans to roll out this year, until the Chinese approvals are
Vilsack said he was understood there was an issue between
Syngenta and China on Viptera, but he noted that China had
recently approved a number of renewals allowing other corn and
soybean products into the country.
"We have been working with the Chinese to try to get their
regulatory process to be more accepting of biotechnology,"
Vilsack told reporters on Air Force One during a flight to
Vilsack, who met with Chinese government officials in
December, said the Chinese regulatory process was not as
"mature" as that of the United States and that he believed there
was pushback in the country about the technology.
China starts its reviews of genetically modified traits
after the U.S. clears the technology, which can create a lag.
Viptera received U.S. approval in 2010 and has been used in the
United States, Argentina and Brazil for three years.
Syngenta shares, which this week sagged to their lowest
since mid-2012, ended at 314.50 Swiss francs, up 1.78 percent,
in European trading. Chicago corn futures were
fractionally higher at $4.43 3/4 per bushel.
Vilsack was traveling with President Barack Obama to a
signing ceremony for a U.S. farm bill that received final
congressional approval this week, and a speech about the rural
economy at Michigan State University in East Lansing.