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GMO-Free Futures in Tokyo

(20 March - Cropchoice News) -- The Tokyo Grain exchange has announced that it will begin trading non-GMO soybean futures starting in May. Other Japanese exchanges will do the same.

Japan is expected to import over four and half million metric tons of soybeans this year, much of which will be GMO-free. Last year Japanese buyers paid US growers five to ten cents per bushel premiums on non-GMO conventional beans and up to a 300% markup on organic and specialty varieties of non-GMO soy.

Standard soybean contracts that allow GMO beans will continue to be traded in Japan, although possibly at a lower price.

Foreign producers may fill Japanese Non-GMO demand. In 1999, Brazil's soy meal exports to Japan were up 21%. US growers control about 60% of global soybean exports. What market share they command in Japan this year will be linked to US farmers ability to serve the expected GMO-free demand in Tokyo.

Concerns about GMO contamination are strong in Japan, where the government appears on-course to adopt stringent labelling standards and a low 0.1% GMO-content threshold.