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UPDATE 1-China approves five GM crops for import, first in 18 months
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BEIJING, Jan 8 (Reuters) - China has approved the import of five genetically modified crops, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday, amid growing pressure from the United States to open up its market to more farm goods.
The crops are RF3 canola, originally developed by Bayer and now owned by BASF, Monsanto's glyphosate-tolerant MON 88302 canola, DuPont Pioneer DP4114 corn, Syngenta's SYHT0H2 soybean and Dow AgroSciences' DAS-44406-6 soybean.
China is the world's top importer of soybeans and a major buyer of other grains but it has not approved any GMO products for import since July 2017, when it cleared two products following high-level talks with Washington. It also approved two products in June 2017.
The new approvals came after Chinese officials met their U.S. counterparts in Beijing on Monday for the first face-to-face talks since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in December to a 90-day truce in a trade war that has roiled global markets.
The U.S. is the world's largest producer of GMO crops but the slow and unpredictable process of getting approvals for GM crops in China has long been a major irritant in agricultural trade between the two countries.
Some products have been waiting for Beijing's approval for seven years.
China's scientific advisory board on genetically modified crops did not approve any products when it met in June.
China does not allow the planting of genetically modified food crops, but does allow GMO imports, such as soybeans and corn, for use as animal feed.
The ministry said on Tuesday it had also renewed the import approval for 26 other GMO crops, extending their approval by a further three years.
(Reporting by Dominique Patton; editing by Richard Pullin)
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