(Adds Syngenta comment, details on trade meetings in Chicago, corn prices)
CHICAGO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Chinese authorities have informed some agriculture industry officials that the government has approved U.S. imports of a type of genetically modified corn that has sparked lawsuits against seed maker Syngenta AG , according to reports from Agri-Pulse and Bloomberg.
Syngenta will make an announcement about Chinese government approval of Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, when the company receives official documentation, a spokesman said in an email. The company said on Friday it was expecting China to clear imports soon.
Traders are watching the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in Chicago for news about MIR 162 approval. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is expected to discuss barriers to imports of U.S. genetically modified crops at the forum, which runs from Tuesday to Thursday.
Beijing has rejected shipments of more than 1 million tonnes of U.S. crops in the past year because they contained traces of MIR 162 corn.
Global grain handlers Cargill Inc and Archer Daniels Midland Co, along with dozens of U.S. farmers, have sued Syngenta for damages from the rejections. They claim the seed company misled the farm industry about the timeline for approval by China, a major importer.
Expectations for China to approve imports of MIR 162 corn helped lift U.S. corn futures to five-month highs on Monday. Most-active March corn was near unchanged on Tuesday at $4.09 a bushel.
Approval could lift U.S. corn exports, traders said. In Ukraine, a rival exporter, state grain firm GPZKU on Tuesday confirmed there were disruptions in corn intended for China.
(Reporting by Mark Weinraub and Tom Polansek; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis)