China to approve first GMO corn traits developed by Syngenta

BEIJING (Reuters) -China plans to approve GMO corn traits developed by Syngenta Group for the first time, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.

The two traits developed by the Swiss agrichemical giant and to be approved, were Bt11×MIR162×GA21 and Bt11×GA21, both insect and herbicide tolerant, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a note posted on its website.

The move marks a major breakthrough for Syngenta, the world’s No. 3 seed producer owned by China’s Sinochem Holdings, in its pursuit to become market leader in China’s GM market.

China also plans to approve a herbicide-tolerant variety developed by Hangzhou Ruifeng Bio-Tech Co Ltd, and another corn product owned by China National Seed Group, a unit of Syngenta Group, the notice said.

Beijing has given safety approval to a few other domestic GMO corn traits already, and proposed overhaul of the country’s seed rules to pave the way for GMO crop approvals as part of an effort to prepare for commercial cultivation of the grain.

Syngenta aims to raise about $10 billion from an initial public offering (IPO) in China expected this year.

Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; editing by John Stonestreet and Jason Neely