China gives approval to GM soybeans

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Ministry of Agriculture issued biosafety certificates to three new overseas varieties of genetically modified soybeans last week, allowing them to be imported as raw materials for domestic processing.

According to a statement from the National Committee on Biosafety of Agricultural GMOs in charge of agricultural GM organisms, the newly approved GM soybeans included CV127 from German chemical producer BASF and MON87701 and MON87701 x MON89788 from Monsanto Far East Ltd.

The three new varieties of GM soybeans, which are better against insect attacks and herbicide, have been approved for commercial planting or consumption in many countries, and it took three years for the three varies to obtain the biosafety certificates from the Chinese government, it said.

The news follows Monday's statement from Brazil's agriculture ministry, which said on its website that China had approved imports of three varieties of Brazilian GM soybeans.

Antonio Adrade, Brazil's minister of agriculture, livestock and food supply, participated in the China-Latin America and Caribbean Agricultural Ministers' Forum in Beijing on Sunday and confirmed the information the next day.

Imports of Brazil's genetically modified soybeans to China had previously been discussed by Agricultural Minister Han Changfu and Andrade.

The approved soybeans include RR2 PRO, which is resistant to caterpillars, a main threat to bean crops in Brazil. The other two are CV127 and Liberty Link, which have a better resistance against herbicide.

As of April, Brazil had exported 7,154 million tons of soybeans valued at around $3,797 billion — 5,604 million tons were exported to China.

"This decision is very timely for Brazilian soybean farmers," Andrade said, "because the companies will have a few weeks to expand their plantations."

Huang Dafang, a researcher from the Biotechnology Research Institute at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said on Thursday that China began to import some varieties of genetically modified agricultural products as early as 2003 or 2004 to satisfy domestic demand, and at present, besides the United States, a substantial proportion of GM agricultural products such as soybeans and corn have been imported from Brazil and Argentina.


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