BEIJING – China approved imports of five new varieties of genetically modified crops, paving the way for US agricultural firms to sell more biotech seeds to Chinese buyers, as Beijing and Washington seek to ease trade tensions.
The approvals, which include some soybean, canola and corn products, come as US and Chinese officials meet in Beijing to hammer out details on a number of broad pledges recently made by the Chinese leadership.
China last made new approvals of genetically modified crops in June 2017.
The list of approvals released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on Tuesday includes DowDuPont DP4114 corn and DAS-44406-6 soybean, and also BASF and Syngenta AG’s SYHT0H2 soybean.
The ministry also granted approvals for BASF SE’s RF3 canola and Bayer AG-owned Monsanto Co.’s glyphosate-tolerant MON88302 canola.
In addition to the five new approvals, 26 other genetically modified crop varieties were given renewed approvals for importing into China.
For the US farm sector, the move is another step toward clearing a backlog of biotech seeds that have awaited approval from China, in some cases for years.
Tuesday’s announcement opened the door for more imports of agricultural products from the US, although it is difficult to gauge the exact impact, said He Yuxin, a soybean analyst at Zhuochuang, a commodities consultancy firm based in eastern Shandong province.
“If the trade talks go smoothly, China will for sure import more soybeans from the US,” said He. “It’s still too early to say by how much. After all, China has diversified imports of agricultural products from other countries.”