Dow firms up China import for GMO corn, to launch in the US now!

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Following a decision by the Chinese government to allow the imports of grain produced from a new Dow Chemical Company-designed variety of genetically modified (GMO) corn, Enlist,  the US-based company now plans to introduce the corn variety to the U.S. and Canadian growers for the 2018 season.

“Enlist is among the largest advanced technology opportunities in Dow’s history, and demonstrates how our innovation drives our growth,” the company’s chairman and chief executive officer Andrew Liveris said in a statement. “With today’s news, we continue to deliver on the promise of Enlist. This product will answer a significant, pressing, and broad market need.”

Developed by subsidiary Dow AgroSciences, the Enlist corn variety is part of a suite of products offered under the Enlist brand produced to manage resistant weeds. An herbicide used with Enlist corn, cotton, and soybeans, Enlist Duo, incorporates Dow’s proprietary Colex-D technology to minimize drift and offer near-zero volatility. Dow’s Enlist soybeans, however, are still being reviewed by officials in China and the European Union.

“We are very excited to bring the Enlist system to farmers in the U.S. and Canada,” Tim Hassinger, president and chief executive officer of Dow AgroSciences, said in a statement. “The feedback on the performance during our Stewarded Introduction has been extremely positive, as growers have been very impressed with both the weed control as well as the formulation advancements we have made, reducing the potential for drift and volatility.”

The corn variety will be sold in the U.S. and Canada as SmartStax Enlist and PowerCore Enlist hybrids as a weed and insect control package. Dow said it will also license its Enlist system to other seed firms.

“We appreciate the efforts of the U.S. and China governments under the 100 Day initiative,” said Hassinger. “We look forward to continuing to work with China and their regulatory process for additional trait approvals so we can bring farmers new and much needed technology.”

China approved two new varieties of genetically modified (GMO) crops for import from June 12, including Dow’s Enlist corn, engineered to combat weeds resistant to the widely used herbicide glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular Roundup herbicide.

China, the top export market for U.S. agricultural products, had pledged in May to speed up a review of biotech products as part of a trade deal with the United States, expediting eight products that have been pending for more than four years.

Along with Enlist corn, Monsanto’s Vistive Gold soybeans were also approved for import, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement. The Enlist platform is Dow AgroScience’s largest-ever product launch and a part of its strategy to boost seed sales by $600 million by 2020.

China does not permit the planting of genetically modified food crops but does allow GMO imports, such as soybeans, for use in its animal feed industry. Getting a new GMO crop variety approved for import by China takes around six years, compared with under three in other major markets, forcing leading agrichemical players to restrict sales during China’s review process.

As per a Reuters report, the agriculture ministry in China said it had also renewed import approvals for 14 other GMO varieties including Syngenta’s MIR162 Agrisure Viptera corn, a Monsanto sugar beet and three Bayer rapeseed products.

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