A Decatur, Ill., livestock feed and dried distillers grain exporter has filed suit against Syngenta for commercializing its Agrisure Viptera (MIR 162) corn variety prior to its approval in China, Reuters reported Tuesday. The suit follows similar allegations from grain company Cargill, filed Sept. 12.
According to the Reuters report, the exporter, Trans Coastal Supply Co., expects to lose more than $41 million because of Syngenta's sale of the variety prior to import approval from China.
Syngenta has since said the claims from both Cargill and Trans Coastal are baseless, the report noted.
China has declined imports of U.S. corn since mid-November of last year after shipments of grain were found to contain the unapproved trait.
According to a National Grain and Feed Association estimate released in April, the U.S. corn, distillers grains and soy sectors had already sustained between $1 billion and $2.9 billion in economic losses as a result of China's refusal to accept U.S. corn.
While many farm groups are adamant that China should speed biotech review processes, the groups are also pressing U.S. farmers to ensure grain with unapproved traits moves into the proper marketing channels this harvest season as to avoid further trade damage.
American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser on Wednesday reminded soy growers that though the disruption affects corn, China currently buys more U.S. soybeans than all other foreign customers combined, and proper equipment clean-out and grain handling is paramount.
According to Gaesser, the margin of error is very small when it comes to unapproved traits; only a few kernels of corn with unapproved traits are more than enough to reject the entire shipment, he said.
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