The grain markets did react to the news, with corn and wheat posting losses. In the soybean pit, however, it's a different story.
U.S. oilseed producers received a shot in the arm last week, when China announced it would purchase 2.5 million metric tons of soybeans.
This week, the Chinese expressed a new willingness to accept more genetically modified soybeans... So much so, that GMO advocates are toying with the idea of a new genetically modified crop.
Exporting genetically modified soybeans from the U.S. to China is about to get easier. The USDA announced this week that Chinese officials are set to grant two (B) billion dollars worth of permanent permits for Roundup Ready soybeans before the April 20th temporary permits expire.
The American Soybean Association says it hopes the permanent permit status will eliminate past problems with U.S. exports, including trade restrictions, import permit delays and confusion over biotechnology regulations.
The Chinese willingness to accept GM products in marked contrast to the sentiments in Japan and in Europe.
Undaunted, GMO advocates in the U.S. are moving forward with discussions about the marketability of a possible new genetically modified crop -- wheat.
Ron Triani, Kraft Foods: "We need to make sure that what you think about when you're creating crops for agriculture are benfits that are gonna be percieved positvely by our consumers."
Consumer reaction is a valid concern. A recent Iowa State University study randomly selected people and showed them various types of food labels. They were then asked to bid on three food items. The results: "When consumers saw the GM label, they bid less by an average of 14%." The professor in charge of the study saw the results as "an indication the industry won't voluntarily label GM foods."