China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) is facing opposition from US lawmakers over the firm’s planned acquisition of Swiss pesticide and seeds giant Syngenta AG.

Charles Grassley, a Republican Senator from Iowa, told the Wall Street Journal that he fears the Chinese firm’s US$43 billion takeover of Syngenta could pose risks to US food supply security.

The US must ensure that “we’re not permitting the sale of too much of our food industry, especially when government-controlled entities like ChemChina are the buyers,” Grassley said in an interview.

A bipartisan group of senators will seek a formal role for the US Department of Agriculture as the Treasury-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) carries out a national security review of the proposed ChemChina-Syngenta deal, he said. 

Lawmakers want food security and safety implications analyzed, Grassley was quoted as saying.

Syngenta generates about one-quarter of its sales in North America, where it is a top pesticide seller and supplies an estimated 10 percent of US soybean seeds and 6 percent for corn, according to the Journal.

ChemChina struck a deal to buy Syngenta in February, extending a string of deal making among global giants in the US$100 billion market for crop seeds and sprays.

“We need to consider the long-term implications of letting foreign entities control significant market share in US agriculture, especially in consolidated markets, like the seed market has become,” Grassley told the Journal.


Originally Published: EjinSight