BUENOS AIRES, June 8 (Reuters) - Argentina’s agriculture minister said on Saturday that China has approved three new strains of genetically modified soybeans and one new variety of GM corn for import, which should boost trade between the two countries.
Argentina’s Norberto Yauhar made the announcement after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Agriculture Minister Han Changfu in Beijing, according to a statement published on Argentina’s presidential website.
The South American country is the world’s No. 3 exporter of soybeans and corn and the top supplier of soyoil and soymeal. Nearly all Argentine soy is genetically modified, as is much of its corn.
Neighboring farming giant Brazil has also been lobbying China to approve more GM soy and corn.
“This is among the most important news we’ve had in recent times for foreign trade,” Yauhar was quoted as saying. “The Chinese minister just confirmed the approval of all the strains of corn and soybeans that were pending, including Monsanto’s Intacta.”
Monsanto Co wants to launch its new bioengineered, worm-resistant soybean seed called Intacta RR2 Pro for planting in Brazil next season, and the company said earlier this year that Chinese approval would be crucial.
Yauhar said China also approved a soybean seed resistant to imidazolinone herbicides, another strain resistant to glufosinate herbicides, and GM corn seeds known as 1161.
Monsanto sees South America and Eastern Europe as key growth areas now. The company has stopped pushing for the expansion of GM crops in Western Europe because many skeptical consumers and environmental groups there question their safety.