UPDATE 1-U.S. groups ask Syngenta to hold back on GM corn barred by China
WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Two leading U.S. grain groups have asked Syngenta AG, the world's largest crop chemicals company, to suspend the commercialization in the United States of two genetically modified (GM) strains of corn not currently approved in China.
The National Grain and Feed Association and North American Export Grain Association wrote to Syngenta, asking the company to hold back on its Agrisure Viptera and Duracade corn varieties until China and other U.S. export markets have granted regulatory approval.
"Numerous negative consequences" follow when export markets are put at risk through commercialization of GM seeds before import approvals are obtained, the groups said.
Multiple cargoes of U.S. corn, some 600,000 tonnes, have been rejected by Chinese authorities since November because they contained the Agrisure Viptera variety, known as MIR 162, which has been awaiting Beijing's acceptance for more than two years.
"NAEGA and NGFA are gravely concerned about the serious economic harm to exporters, grain handlers and, ultimately, agricultural producers ... that has resulted from Syngenta's current approach to stewardship of Viptera," the groups said.
The intended product launch of Duracade "risks repeating and extending the damage. Immediate action is required by Syngenta to halt such damage," NAEGA and NGFA said in their letter, which was dated Jan 22 and released on Thursday.
The grain groups also urged U.S. farmers to "evaluate these issues" when preparing to plant their 2014 corn crops.
Syngenta could not immediately be reached for comment. The Swiss company said recently that its Agrisure Duracade variety will be available for planting for the first time this year in "limited quantities" after U.S. authorities cleared it for sale and cultivation last year.
Chicago corn futures were at $4.30 per bushel, up 0.8 percent, in early afternoon trading.