Syngenta and US farmers to have their day in court

US farmer lawsuits against Swiss company Syngenta have been given the go ahead to proceed as a class action by a District Court in Kansas.

The lawsuits against the global agro-chemical company focus on the sale of biotech corn seeds, Viptera and Duracade, which had not been approved to enter the Chinese market.

These corn seeds contained a genetically modified trait, known as ‘MIR 162,’ that reportedly controls certain insects, according to the case report.

Corn with this trait has entered US corn stocks but has not been approved for import by the Chinese government, which has led to a complete ban on US corn being imposed, the report indicates.

Plaintiffs in this case include corn growers and a grain exporter who suffered economic losses as a result of China’s decision to ban the corn with the offending trait.

A class action means that the lawsuits filed by multiple plaintiffs will be dealt with as one case, rather than having to seek a decision on a case-by-case basis.

Proposed Syngenta takeover

The news of this approved class action comes at a time when Chemchina has sought approval from the European Commission for its $43 billion takeover of Syngenta.

The Chinese state-owned chemical company filed papers with the European Commission on September 23 to gave the take over the all clear.

The decision on the proposed take over is expected no later than October 28, when the Commission will decide to clear the deal, with or without concessions or open it up for a full investigation.

In February, the Chinese chemical offered to buy the company at $465 (€421.6) per ordinary share, a move which Syngenta’s Board of Directors unanimously recommended to its shareholders.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has also given clearance to Chemchina on the acquisition.

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