Reuters — Archer Daniels Midland sued seed company Syngenta on Wednesday over sales of a genetically modified corn variety not approved for import by China, joining more than 100 farmers and exporters in pursuing damages from the Swiss company.
The lawsuit alleges Syngenta commercialized the MIR162 corn variety, also known as Agrisure Viptera, without creating an effective stewardship program to ensure the grain would not be shipped to markets that have not approved it.
China has over the past year rejected shipments of more than one million tonnes of U.S. corn and corn products because they contained MIR162 grain.
The variety, planted on about three per cent of U.S. corn acres during the past two years, can be found throughout the American supply chain because it has not been segregated from other varieties since its launch in 2011.
“These rejections have resulted in very substantial losses to U.S. exporters who have had their shipments to China turned away, including tens of millions of dollars in damages to ADM,” the Chicago-based company said in its suit, filed in a state court in Louisiana.
ADM’s suit alleges Syngenta did not effectively put into effect a stewardship program designed to keep the MIR162 strain out of export channels until import approvals were granted by all major foreign markets.
Syngenta said the lawsuit was without merit.
Fellow grain exporters Cargill and Trans Coastal Supply have also sued Syngenta seeking damages linked to China’s rejection of shipments.
A group of U.S. Midwest farmers filed co-ordinated lawsuits last month seeking damages suffered from the drop in corn prices tied to the trade disruption, which the National Grain and Feed Association has estimated at more than US$1 billion.
— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.