Situation Overview

Chinese orders for U.S. corn increased this year and recently began to include the 2011 crop. China has not previously represented a substantial portion of the U.S. corn export market. The Chinese regulatory system has not approved the Agrisure Viptera trait (Event MIR162). This situation has caused concern among some grain traders. Syngenta is working with the grain trade, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and other key stakeholders to determine how best to address this new situation with minimal disruption to the marketplace.

 

What has happened?

Chinese orders for U.S. corn increased in July and include the 2011 crop. China has not previously represented a substantial portion of the U.S. corn export market. According to the International Grains Council, last year the U.S. exported 1.7 million tons of corn to China. Recently, they have increased their orders for U.S. corn. However, the updated USDA forecast estimates that, even with increase, approximately 99% of the U.S. corn crop goes to domestic and foreign markets other than China.

 

Why is this causing concern with some grain traders?

The Chinese regulatory system has not yet approved the Agrisure Viptera trait. Syngenta expects to receive regulatory approval in late March 2012. While the Agrisure Viptera trait is in compliance with the NCGA and Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) guidelines, Bunge and Consolidated Grain & Barge (CGB) have indicated they will not accept grain containing the Agrisure Viptera trait. Syngenta is disappointed with their decision; however, other major grain companies have told Syngenta that they are accepting grain containing the Agrisure Viptera trait.

 

What is the regulatory history of the Agrisure Viptera trait?

Syngenta received deregulation from the USDA for the Agrisure Viptera trait in April 2010. Since then, the Agrisure Viptera trait has received approval in all key import markets recommended by both the NCGA and BIO. The technology has been approved for cultivation in Canada, Argentina and Brazil, and for import in the key markets of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Korea and Taiwan. Syngenta applied for Chinese approval of its Agrisure Viptera trait in March 2010 (upon approval in Brazil) and currently expects to receive regulatory clearance in late March 2012.

In the past, technology providers have not delayed commercialization of new traits due to absence of Chinese approvals.

 

Has this happened to any other traits?

In the past, technology providers have not held up commercialization of new traits due to absence of Chinese approvals. Major trait launches – including MON89034 contained in the GenuityVT Triple PROand GenuitySmartStaxtrait stacks from Monsanto and MycogenSmartStaxtrait stacks from Dow AgroSciences – were conducted in 2010 in the absence of Chinese approval because it was not considered a key export market.

In comparison to the millions of acres represented by previous product launches that followed this protocol, total acres of hybrids with the Agrisure Viptera trait represented less than 2 percent of the U.S. corn acres.

 

Is Syngenta working with China on this issue?

Yes, Syngenta is working diligently with China. Syngenta applied for Chinese approval of the Agrisure Viptera trait in March 2010 (upon approval in Brazil) and currently expects to receive regulatory clearance in late March 2012.