Soybeans with the LibertyLink trait moved closer to commercial launch in the United States. China, the largest importer of U.S. soybeans, has granted a safety certificate for LibertyLink soybeans.

To date, LibertyLink soybeans are fully approved for food, feed and cultivation in the United States and Canada and for import and cultivation in Argentina, Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and Taiwan. Approval from the European Union is the final major approval needed.

“The EU approval is on track, and we expect to attain it by the end of 2008,” says Andy Hurst, Bayer CropScience product manager for LibertyLink soybeans. “With that accomplished, we will have achieved import approval in nearly all the major soybean-exporting countries.”

The company is working with more than 80 seed companies to launch LibertyLink soybeans in 2009. Bayer CropScience anticipates that one million acres will be planted to LibertyLink soybeans next spring, in maturity ranges from .5 to 4.9.