The Chinese leadership is planning to approve the safety of more genetically modified (GMO) corn varieties produced by domestic companies, Reuters reported the country’s agriculture ministry as saying.

At the end of last year, Beijing proposed an overhaul of regulatory seed rules to lead the way for approval of GMO crops and top policy makers were urging for progress in biotech breeding, the 28 December report said.

The three new corn products include ND207 produced by China National Tree Seed Corp and China Agricultural University, Zheda Ruifeng 8 made by Hangzhou Ruifeng Biotech Co and DBN3601Tfrom Beijing Dabeinong Biotechnology Co, according to the notice posted on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

The DBN3601T corn is an upgraded variety from DBN9501 and DBN9936, two corn traits owned by Dabeinong Biotech, the parent company Dabeinong Technology Group Co said in a statement.

Dabeinong Technology said it would be work with partners to prepare for the commercialisation of the product.

Combining traits from both DBN9501 and DBN9936, the new variety would have stronger resistance to a wider range of insects, especially the autumn armyworm, according to a statement released on the company's website.

Safety approval is seen as a major step towards the commercialisation of GMO crops, Reuters wrote, but it was still unclear when the new products would be ready for market launch.

The plan to approve the new corn varieties, along with seven new GMO cotton products, was open for public comment until 17 January.

To date, Beijing has not permitted the planting of GMO soyabean or corn varieties, according to the report, while allowing their import for use in animal feed.