Cargill Sues Syngenta Over Millions in Lost Grain Sales to ChinaMon, 15 Sep 2014 10:19:35 CDT
Leading US Grain Exporter Cargill sued a unit of Syngenta AG in a Louisiana state court over the weekend for damages stemming from China's rejection of genetically modified US corn, which Cargill said cost the company more than $90 million.
Minnesota-based Cargill accuses Syngenta of exposing the grain trader to losses by selling the seeds to American farmers before the Swiss company had secured approval from China.
The Agrisure Viptera corn variety known as MIR 162 can be found throughout the US corn supply, effectively closing the lucrative Chinese market to US supplies, the lawsuit said.
Cargill is suing Syngenta for negligence; knowing, reckless or willful misconduct and unfair trade practices.
The lawsuit seeks to hold Syngenta responsible for "deliberate, knowing and continuing contamination of the US corn supply with a product that it understood all along would substantially impair the US grain industry's ability to sell corn and other commodities to buyers in China," according to Cargill's filing.
Since November, China has rejected imports of hundreds of thousands of tons of US corn, including from vessels loaded by Cargill in Louisiana, due to the presence of the MIR 162 trait, according to the lawsuit.
In April, Cargill said the rejection of US corn shipments by China had contributed to a 28 percent drop in its earnings for the quarter ended February 28.
Syngenta, the world's largest crop chemicals company, said in a statement that the lawsuit was without merit.
According to a statement released by Syngenta, "Syngenta believes that the lawsuit is without merit and strongly upholds the right of growers to have access to approved new technologies that can increase both their productivity and their profitability.
"The Agrisure Viptera trait (MIR162) was approved for cultivation in the USA in 2010. Syngenta commercialized the trait in full compliance with regulatory and legal requirements. Syngenta also obtained import approval from major corn importing countries. Syngenta has been fully transparent in commercializing the trait over the last four years. During this time Agrisure Viptera has demonstrated major benefits for growers, preventing significant yield and grain quality losses resulting from damage by a broad spectrum of lepidopteran pests."
Sources indicate that Syngenta has approval for the sale of MIR162 to major importing countries like Canada, Brazil, Japan, Mexico and the European Union- however, China has not signed off and that's the reason for the litigation from Cargill Another major marketer of US grain, ADM, is reportedly weighing a similar lawsuit against Syngenta as well.
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