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UPDATE 2-China approves import of first domestic GM soybean for feed use

(Recasts, adds details, background)

By Dominique Patton and Min Zhang

BEIJING, June 23 (Reuters) - China has approved the import of two new genetically modified (GM) soybean varieties, including one developed by local firm Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co Ltd, its agriculture ministry said on Tuesday, making it the first Chinese engineered soybean allowed for import.

Dabeinong signed an agreement with Argentinian biotechnology company Bioceres SA in 2013 to help it get regulatory approval for production of its DBN-Ø9ØØ4-6 glufosate and glufosinate-resistant soybean in Argentina.

The Argentinian authorities granted safety approval for the variety in February 2019 but it has not yet been planted, pending approval by Beijing, according to a Dabeinong official.

With approval from China, the world's top soybean buyer, the seed can now be marketed for production in Argentina.

The MON87751 soybean, an insect-resistant variety developed by Bayer-owned Monsanto Far East Ltd has also been approved, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement.

The ministry also renewed safety certificates for six other GM crops for import - for five varieties of corn and another soybean crop - developed by Monsanto Far East, Dow AgroSciences, now owned by Corteva , and Syngenta.

The crops approved for import will be used as feedstock, according to the statement. All approvals took effect from June 11 and would last for five years, it added.

Beijing has long approved imports of GM products to feed to livestock but has not fully commercialized GM grain production at home.

However in January, it granted safety certificates to two GMO corn varieties, including one developed by Dabeinong. The products need to clear two additional regulatory steps before they can be grown in China.

Bioceres is also hoping to get Chinese import approval this year for its HB4 drought-resistant soybean variety.

(Reporting by Dominique Patton, Min Zhang, Judy Hua and Se Young Lee; Editing by Tom Hogue and Rashmi Aich)

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