China Rejects U.S. Corn and Turns to Ukraine

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China has ordered 600,000 tons of corn from Ukraine for 2015. The Chinese previously rejected the U.S. brand in 2014, which contained an unacceptable genetically modified trait.

American corn suppliers are fearful that the Chinese may once again reject their brand of corn because of the GMO strand Agrisure Duracade contained within the product.  China’s aversion to the American variety cost producers $2.9 billion in 2014. This has shocked many in corn community, given that American corn can compete with its Ukrainian counterpart on a cost level. China is the second largest consumer of corn in the world. China uses the corn for industrial purposes and the meat industry.

Higher demand for meat stems from the growing number of people rising above the poverty level. China burns through its corn stockpiles quickly, with prices skyrocketing to $16 per ton (100 yuan) in the past few weeks. Ukraine will be sending a delegation next month to broker a double shipment. American producers need to realize that modified food is a contentious issue worldwide, and it is making their brand less competitive.

GMO Corn Gains More Attention

Russian authorities have been restricting GMO corn and other GM imports for the past few years. The ban was in response to a French study that revealed GM foods from Monsanto may lead to higher risks of organ failure and tumors. European nations have GM labeling requirements, and the Chinese government even went so far as to destroy all modified corn shipments from the States near Macau in 2013.

This should be a wake-up call to American corn producers and supporters of genetically modified crops. GM foods such as golden rice are unpopular in many developing nations, and there is growing resistance against GM products around the world.

China Becoming More Progressive?

In a nation with low pollution standards and lax labor laws, many would find it hard to believe that the Chinese are moving in a more enlightened direction, but the nation is at least trying. Chinese authorities are trying to lower coal usage and boost natural gas and solar output.

China’s dislike of American corn is another sign that the nation is aware of the potential harm of modifying food. And despite the contracting economy, the Chinese are still in a position to be choosy about what they buy on the market. American corn mills must strip out GMO elements in the feed while remaining cost competitive worldwide.