December 16, 2013
|AFP Photo / Yasuyoshi Chiba|
A cargo of 59,100 tons was turned away [last] Tuesday in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang after quarantine officials found MIR 162 — an insect-resistant GMO strain which the country’s agriculture ministry has yet to warrant, Reuters cited an official as saying.
China, the world’s second largest corn consumer, has refused 180,000 tons of grain since mid-November. Observers believe it has less to do with the corn and more to do with other trade quarrels between the two countries.
“It is really causing big trouble and it seems to be related to bilateral trade conflicts,” a domestic corn trader told Reuters.
In November, China fought US accusations that it was blocking a World Trade Organization technology deal that would cut tariffs on products. US Trade Representative Michael Froman said later that month that China’s demand to exempt over 100 products from the deal risked breaking negotiations.
In response, China’s commerce minister, Gao Hucheng, said it was “irresponsible for the US to discard the consensus that has been agreed by most of the countries only because the deal cannot meet its own requirement for several products.”