Take a moment and rewind your brain all the way back to January of 2014. Remember how China was rejecting shipments of corn from the United States? At the time, China claimed that they could not accept the shipments because testing revealed the US imports of corn had trace amounts of a genetically modified strain of corn not yet approved in China. Though the strain had been approved in the United States for commercial growth and sale, the Chinese were still looking into it (or so they claimed).
However, I argued that the safety of biotechnology had nothing to do with China’s rejection of our corn. Rather, the Chinese stood to gain from breaking the commodity contracts and purchasing the same corn at much lower prices.
Don’t worry if you can’t remember that far back, you can just read the original article here.
One year later, China finally decided that those new biotech crops were completely safe and they could be imported into China. On December 22, 2014, Sygenta, who created the new crops, was given approval of their Viptera corn variety (also known as MIR 162). Bayer received approval of a new GMO soybean for deregulation in China too. Pioneer was also given the okay for a new soybean variety. It only took 5 years and a lot of trade drama, but these new crops now have the green light in China.
According to Reuters:
Several large importers in China said they were unhappy over what they saw as a lack of transparency in Beijing’s handling of the approval, which likely gave state-owned buyer COFCO an unfair trading advantage.
So, like I said a year ago, China’s delay in approving these varieties had little to do with food safety and a whole heck of a lot to do with making a quick buck. The companies waiting for the approvals anticipated it would happen much sooner than it did. But China’s economic position was benefited by waiting. It wasn’t that the Chinese regulators found something in their review of the crops that gave them a cause for concern or held up the process (so all the anti-GMO fanatics can stop trying to say otherwise). Rather, the Chinese government saw corn contracts that included a much higher price than the then market price.
I hate to say it (okay, no I don’t…), but I told you so!