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China's first joint venture licensed to sell corn seeds amid surging exports

(Thursday, April 17, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- China's top corn seed company, Denghai Seeds, and U.S.-based Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. are jointly marketing hybrid corn seed in time for this year's season. The namesake of the Chinese company is Li Denghai, who bred a high-yielding summer corn variety that accounts for a third of the country's corn acreage. As its role in the joint venture, Pioneer will facilitate biotechnology research, as well as marketing and services to increase its market share. Source: Financial Times.

This happens in the context of China's rising corn exports, as the following story from the April 15 edition of the People's Daily Online explains.

China Rivals World's Top Corn Exporters

China has seen soaring corn exports since the beginning of this year, making it second only to the United States in corn exports.

Ren Ping, an expert with the cereal and oil information center of northeast China's Jilin province, said China had provided the world market with an abundant corn supply through its clearance sales in 2003.

In addition, China's persevering efforts in opening up global market had contributed to the sound outlook of domestic corn exports this year, Ren noted.

The northeast China Plain, known as one of the world's three largest "golden corn belts", enjoys equal reputation with the cornfields in the United States and Ukraine. The corn output of Jilin province accounts for around 15 percent of the country's total.

With annual exports of two to three million tons, Jilin has taken half of the corn exports in China. Last year, the province'scorn exports made up for nearly 60 percent of the country's total.

In 2002, China exported 11.67 million tons of corn, ranking second in the world.

Qu Xiaofeng, a woman official with the provincial grain center, said that the United States experienced a comparative decline in corn exports last year due to lower yields plus the rising exports of China and Argentina.

The United States, China and Argentina would see more intense competition in the global corn markets in coming years, Qu predicted.

Though the United States would maintain first place in corn exports, its export price was unlikely to rise because of the influence of Iraq War and meteorological factors, she said.

Argentina was third in corn exports last year, but gained ground at the beginning of this year. It would continue to compete with China as second largest corn exporter this year, Qu said.

China has launched a series of policies favoring grain exports since last year, such as exempting railroad-transported rice, wheat, corn and soybean from railway construction funds and imposing preferential added value taxes on farm produce.

Thanks to these active positive policies, China's total corn export volume hit a record high last year . The growth was even more obvious in the first two months of this year with exports amounting to 2.34 million tons, 134 percent higher than the same period last year.

Experts expect that China's corn exports this year is expected to reach 10 to 12 million tons according to the current growth rate.

Meanwhile, the decline of global corn reserves and further increasing ocean freight will sustain the further rise of corn prices in the international market, which will also create development opportunities for China.

Experts hold that China's corn exports to the Republic of Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and southeast Asian countries will not be greatly impacted negatively by the global political and economic climate owing to geographical advantages. Besides, Chinese corn has won a large international market share, relying on competitive prices and enhanced quality.