China approves 2 GMO soybeans, including Enlist E3, for import

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Photo courtesy Wikipedia

China approved five genetically modified crops for import recently, the first time it has done so in about 18 months. Among those are the Enlist E3 soybean from Corteva (formerly DowDuPont), which is tolerant to glyphosate, glufosinate and 2,4-D herbicides.

The Enlist E3 soybean is known to regulators as DAS-44406-6.  Most of the other large importing countries had long ago approved Enlist soybeans.

But U.S. growers were hesitant to plant them for fear they would be co-mingled with export shipments to China and cause trade disruptions. Now with the approval, growers will have additional weed-control options in their toolbox.

China also approved the  SYHT0H2 soybean developed by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta but now held by BASF. It was genetically engineered to tolerate glufosinate, the active ingredient in Liberty, and mesotrione.

Currently no mesotrione herbicide is registered for use on soybeans.

The other crops China approved are:

• DowDuPont’s DP4114 corn, which has stacked traits for  glufosinate herbicide tolerance and coleopteran (beetle, particularly corn rootworm) and lepidopteran (butterfly and moth larvae) resistance. They will be marketed under the Pioneer brand Qrome umbrella.

• BASF’s RF3 canola, which has glufosiniate resistance and has been genetically modified for fertility restoration, and

• Bayer’s MON 88302 glyphosate-tolerant canola.

The two canolas had been awaiting Chinese approval for six years.

The United States is the world’s biggest producer of GMO crops, while China is the top importer of GMO soybeans and canola, according to a Reuter’s article.

U.S. farmers and global seed companies have long complained about Beijing’s slow and unpredictable process for approving GMO crops for import, stoking trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The approvals, announced on the agriculture ministry’s website, were granted while a U.S. trade delegation is meeting with its counterparts in the Chinese capital this week.

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