Posted September 19, 2014
 
Cargill files a lawsuit against Syngenta Seeds seeking damages for China rejecting U.S. genetically modified (GMO) corn, according to a Reuters article by Tom Polansek available here. Farm Futures also published an article available here, Minneapolis Star Tribune here, and The Wall Street Journal here.
Cargill stated in court documents that $90 million was lost due to Syngenta’s sale of Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, to U.S. farmers without obtaining prior import approval from China, which resulted in refusal of boatloads of U.S. crop containing the variety.
In August, China’s Ministry of Agriculture refused to renew certificates that allowed Chinese research groups to grow genetically modified rice and corn even though the country has stated that GMO foods are safe. China is also refusing to accept imported GMOs that are not approved by the government, according to the Star Tribune.
According to Cargill, China’s Ministry of Agriculture has refused more than 1.4 million metric tons of corn after traces of Viptera were discovered.
A Cargill spokesman said the corn in question was diverted to other ports that would accept the corn. However, Cargill wants to make an example out of Syngenta’s business practices.
“Unlike other seed companies, Syngenta has not practiced responsible stewardship by broadly commercializing a new product before receiving approval from a key export market like China,” said Mark Stonacek, president of Cargill Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain North America. “Syngenta also put the ability of U.S. agriculture to serve global markets at risk, costing both Cargill and the entire U.S. agricultural industry significant damages,” according to Farm Futures.
Stonacek said that seed companies, farmers, grain handlers, exporters and others have a “shared responsibility to maintain and preserve market access when introducing new technology.”
For more information on international trade, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.