Syngenta defends GMO corn products after Chinese controversy
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2014 - Syngenta, the world's largest agro-chemicals company, defended its product commercialization strategy in response to a request from U.S. grain groups that it put a hold on marketing two of its genetically modified corn products until they are approved for import by China. The request came from the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA).
China has rejected imports of U.S. corn and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGs) in recent months because of the presence of Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera corn.
In a statement released today, NAEGA and NGFA said they are “gravely concerned” about Syngenta's approach to stewardship of Viptera, which they said results in economic harm to exporters, grain handlers and agricultural producers and harms “United States' reputation to meet its customers' needs.”
The associations also said they are concerned about Syngenta's commercialization of Agrisure Duracade corn, which China and other export markets have not yet approved.
“There are numerous negative consequences incurred when the Chinese and other U.S. export markets are put at risk through commercialization of biotechnology-enhanced seeds before approvals for import into foreign markets are obtained,” NAEGA and NGFA said in their statement.Consequences include reducing value and demand for U.S. agricultural products, exposing export companies to financial losses and damaging trade relations, they said.
In a response, Syngenta noted that Agrisure Viptera is grown in the U.S., Argentina and Brazil, and has been in the grain system for three years.
“Changing our marketing plan in the U.S. now would have no effect on grain in the system or Chinese acceptance of corn imports,” the company said in a statement.
The “real issue,” Syngenta said, is the lack of synchronized approvals by grain importing countries like China. Importing countries need to align their regulatory processes to ensure predictable markets and undisturbed trade, Syngenta said.
Syngenta also defended its commercialization of Agrisure Duracade, noting that concern for corn rootworm is triggering strong demand among American growers.
“Syngenta believes American growers need and should have access to new solutions when those technologies are approved for cultivation,” according to the statement.
The Duracade technology is being marketed with a limited launch planned for cultivation in the U.S. and Canada this year.
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