ChemChina purchase of Syngenta draws letter of protest

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/9/19 22:18:40

Around 1,300 Chinese citizens have signed a letter to protest China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina)'s acquisition of Swiss-based Syngenta, citing genetically modified (GM) food worries, one of the protestors who helped draft the letter told the Global Times on Monday. 

Qin Zhongda, the former minister of the Ministry of Chemical Industry, was the leading signatory. The Ministry of Chemical Industry is now the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation.

The signed letter and relevant documents were sent to the Ministry of Commerce ­(MOFCOM) by September 14, Yang ­Xiaolu, another signatory and a long-time activist against GM crops, told the Global Times on Monday.

The MOFCOM had not responded to the letter as of press time, Yang said.

The letter calls for "an immediate stop to the disastrous multinational deal," as the purchase of Syngenta, a Swiss agribusiness giant that develops GM seeds and pesticides, will not only "endanger China's agricultural crops, but also pose harm to food safety, the environment, and public health."

It also urged the MOFCOM to instruct ­Syngenta to release "all toxicology animal test reports and other safety evaluation documents" for the company's potentially harmful pesticides and GM agricultural products.

There is yet no evidence to prove whether GM food poses risks.

The debate over the safety of GM crops has been going on for some time, with supporters saying that GM technology is a cost-effective method to address global food supply ­shortages, domestic news portal reported.

In March, a similar letter was sent to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, according to Yang. Yang said he hadn't received any response from the agency.

On February 3, ChemChina announced that it had agreed to take over Syngenta in a deal worth $43 billion, according to a ­statement posted on the website of ChemChina.

If completed, it would be China's largest overseas acquisition to date.

The deal is expected to be concluded by the end of this year. It has been approved by the US national security regulator in August, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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