China allows corn imports from Brazil from start of April

Tall feed corn is harvested in Santo Antonio do Jardim, Brazil. China, the world's second-largest corn consumer, has allowed imports of the grain from Brazil from the start of this month. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Tall feed corn is harvested in Santo Antonio do Jardim, Brazil. China, the world's second-largest corn consumer, has allowed imports of the grain from Brazil from the start of this month. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - China, the world's second-largest corn consumer, has allowed imports of the grain from Brazil from the start of this month, Chinese quarantine authorities said on Tuesday.

The government of Brazil, the world's No. 2 corn exporter, flagged the move late last year, but the start date was not revealed at that time.

China mainly imports corn from United States, but shipments from the country have been curbed after officials turned away about 1 million tonnes due to the presence of an unapproved genetically-modified strain.

In the wake of the rejections, it has stepped up imports from Ukraine. Argentina, Peru, Thailand and Laos are the other nations approved to ship corn to China.

"China is adding more supply origins to meet growing demand in the long term," said an industry analyst with an official think-tank.

"Brazilian supplies can be very competitive with those from the United States."

China's own production cannot meet its consumption growth, with a rising population and rapid urbanisation increasing demand for protein-rich food.

Brazil is expected to export 20 million tonnes of corn in the 2013/14 marketing year, second only to the United States, according to estimate by the US Department of Agriculture.

China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine announced the latest move on its website.