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Federal court upholds Bunge’s corn refusal

By Staff | Sep 30, 2011

St. Louis, Mo. – a U.S. federal District Court ruling issued monday denied a preliminary injunction, filed Aug. 23 by Syngenta that would require Bunge North America to accept Agrisure Viptera corn from growers.

A statement from Bunge said the court ruling “is consistent with and validates Bunge’s decision to reject Agrisure Viptera corn at all of our locations as a legitimate and reasonable business decision.”

In rejecting Syngenta’s request, the court said the public interest would best be served “in fostering export markets for United States corn, in allowing business to make legitimate business decisions, and in allocating the risk of commercialization of a new transgenic corn trait upon the party that commercialized the trait”

Bunge’s statement concluded the company, “remains a strong proponent of agricultural biotechnology and the benefits it offers to the entire value chain when responsibly managed.”

In its suit, Syngenta alleged Bunge was attempting to block the legal merchandising of the Agrisure Viptera trait which was launched, Syngenta said, in compliance with all U.S. regulatory requirements, as well as industry guidelines for commercialization.

In a written statement provided to Farm News in August from Soren Schroder, president and CEO of Bunge, Syngenta was told before it retailed the seed trait that it was still not approved for export to China.

That it did go retail before China’s approval was against established policy set by the North American Export Grain Association, Bunge asserted.

Syngenta said that Bunge understood that Syngenta expected China to approve the new trait in early 2012.

“However, until this approval occurs,” Schroder said, “we must protect the integrity of our export supply chain by not accepting Agrisure Viptera and other varieties that do not have major export market approval.”

Quinn Showalter, commercial trait lead for Syngenta, said the company is working to get more clarity within the grain trade as it relates to new technology, to avoid similar situations in the future.

Agrisure Viptera trait provides unsurpassed control of 14 yield- and quality-robbing insects including corn borer, corn rootworm and the multi-pest complex.

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