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Biotech ban may limit US trade

The United States is expecting record harvests but EU rules against biotech-derived crops may force Europe to turn to South American sources to make up the differences.

“Unfortunately, without a workable approval process for grains derived through biotechnology, the EU is limited in its potential sources for corn,” says Ken Hobbie, US Grains Council president and CEO. “They are likely to turn to South American sources, reducing the amount of feed grains from those origins available to other importers.”

According to reports, the EU corn crop will be down 8.7 million metric tons (342.5 million bushels) compared to 2006, with the majority of the loss in Romania and Hungary where drought is blamed for harvests estimated to be 50% lower than last year. Untimely rains in France, Germany and the United Kingdom damaged much of the wheat crop in those countries, already stressed by earlier heat waves.

The USDA has estimated the EU will need to import 6 million tons (236.2 million bushels) of corn and 1 million tons (39.4 million bushels) of sorghum, increasing competition for these grains on the international market. (