Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders ordered a Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-linked agriculture company to give up its land holdings in the state on Tuesday.
Sanders and Republican Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin will enforce state Act 636, which bans foreign entities from certain countries considered averse to the national interests of the U.S., against Syngenta, an agriculture company that produces seeds and herbicides that is a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned China National Chemical Corporation, an official from Sanders’ office told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Syngenta owns or leases about 6,000 acres of American land, which it uses primarily to test and develop products for sale in the American market to remain in compliance with environmental laws, according to NBC News.
“For far too long, in the name of tolerance, we’ve let dangerous governments infiltrate our country. Arkansas will tolerate them no longer,” Sanders told the DCNF. “Today, Arkansas is becoming the first state in the country to force a Chinese state-owned company to sell their farmland. This isn’t about where you’re from, it’s about where your loyalties lie. We simply can’t trust those who pledge allegiance to a hostile foreign power.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republicans in the state Legislature passed a bill that restricts Chinese nationals from purchasing certain land and property within the state, and numerous other states led by Republicans have considered similar legislation, according to Semafor.
Syngenta passed a review with the Obama administration’s Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) in 2016, according to Reuters. Some Republicans, including Rep. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, expressed their concerns at the time that the company posed a national security concern because of its connection to the CCP via the China National Chemical Corporation.
In April 2021, the China National Chemical Corporation merged with Sinochem, another Chinese state-owned company, which numerous House Republicans said allowed for the company and Syngenta to once again undergo CFIUS review. While both of the Chinese state-owned companies are on a watchlist of corporations that are believed to facilitate and finance the CCP’s intelligence and military operations, Syngenta did not undergo a fresh CFIUS review.
“Syngenta is disappointed by today’s announcement by the State of Arkansas about a bill that was passed in April. Nothing new was announced today,” a company spokesperson told the DCNF. “The order for Syngenta to divest itself of 160 acres of agricultural land in Craighead County, which the company has owned since 1988, is a shortsighted action that fails to account for the effects of such an action, intended or not, on the U.S. agricultural market.”
“All Syngenta land holdings have been examined by the U.S. government, through two administrations, as Syngenta was transitioning to ChemChina ownership,” the spokesperson continued. “Since Syngenta has had Chinese ownership, the company has purchased only an additional 200 agricultural acres,” and the company “continues to adhere to all government laws, regulations, and reviews for any land additions to the Syngenta portfolio.”
China National Chemical Corporation could not be reached for comment.
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