Syngenta in North America filed a complaint against Bunge North America, alleging it violated a number of federal and state laws. Syngenta stated Bunge is attempting to block the legal merchandising of its Agrisure Viptera™ trait which was launched in compliance with all U.S. regulatory requirements.
“We are taking this action to remove the illegal impediment Bunge imposed on growers when they announced mid-season that they would not accept grain enhanced by the Agrisure Viptera trait,” said David Morgan, president, Syngenta Seeds, Inc. “When a product has been legally approved, growers should be able to use that technology without subsequently being subjected to arbitrary actions.”
Since April 2010, the technology has been approved for cultivation in Canada, Argentina and Brazil, and for import in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Korea and Taiwan. Approval of the trait is currently pending in China.
Bunge North America’s president and CEO, Soren Schroder, responded in a statement he was “surprised and disappointed that Syngenta has taken an action which could put at risk a major export market for U.S. corn producers — China.”
Schroder continued, “Bunge is a strong proponent of agricultural biotechnology and the benefits it offers to the entire value chain. We have communicated to Syngenta on several occasions that Bunge looks forward to accepting Agrisure Viptera once approval from China is secured. We understand that Syngenta expects this will happen in early 2012.”
Until China’s approval is finalized, Schroder said Bunge will protect its export supply chain by not accepting Agrisure Viptera and other varieties that do not have major export market approval.
Bunge’s decision is consistent with the North American Export Grain Association’s policy to advocate that technology providers receive all major international approvals for a trait prior to seed sales.
The USDA ranks China as the seventh largest destination for U.S. corn with imports expected to grow significantly this year.
Sources: Bunge North America news release and Syngenta Seeds, Inc. news release.