Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the following statement regarding the completion of the review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on the ChemChina-Syngenta merger. Grassley has introduced the Securing American Food Equity (SAFE) Act, to permanently add the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the CFIUS review process and clarify that agricultural assets are considered critical national security infrastructure that CFIUS must consider before it approves any transaction. Grassley is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over antitrust policy. The antitrust review of the ChemChina-Syngenta merger is ongoing. The text of Grassley’s SAFE Act can be found here.
“The ChemChina-Syngenta merger raises questions about national security because of the need to ensure a safe food supply in the United States. It’s clear that China is looking at purchasing companies with food production expertise as part of a long-term strategic plan and a component of their national security. We need to be looking at these mergers in the same way, so it makes sense for CFIUS to take that angle into consideration when reviewing these transactions. The fact that a state owned enterprise may have yet another stake in U.S. agriculture is alarming. My bill will permanently add the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the CFIUS review process to ensure that the state of the nation’s food supply is appropriately taken into account when reviewing these mergers.”