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Syngenta Sued for $1 Billion Damages over China’s Rejection of GM Corn

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Syngenta Sued for $1 Billion Damages over China’s Rejection of GM Corn as China Halts Its GM Rice and Corn Programmes

85 % US export market to China destroyed as domestic prices for corn dropped 11 cents per bushel

Dr Mae-Wan Ho      Institute of Science in Society 10/13/14

US corn prices plummeted as China rejected all shipments containing traces of Syngenta’s MIR162. Farmers from 5 major corn growing states have filed 3 class action lawsuits against Syngenta, claiming damages of more than $ 1 billion [1, 2].

Syngenta released MIR162, trade name Agrisure Vipera, in 2009. It is engineered to make a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) protein vip3Aa20 toxic to lepidopteran insect pests (butterflies and moths) [3], and also has a gene pmi (phosphomannose isomerase) from E. coli to allow positive selection for the transgene. It was created with Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated plant transformation, a particularly hazardous vector system that risks further horizontal gene transfer (see [4] Ban GMOs Now, ISIS Special Report).  While MIR162 is approved for use in the US, China has not allowed its import into the country.

Syngenta is blamed for destroying the export of US corn to China, which led to depressed prices for domestic corn, according to Volnek Farms, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in Omaha, Nebraska federal court. The two other suits were filed in Iowa and Illinois federal courts.

None of the farmers involved in the lawsuits planted MIR162 seed in their fields in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. But their harvested crop was contaminated with traces of the transgenic trait, and hence unsalable to the Chinese market.

Although Viptera has been planted on only about 3 % of US farm acreage, it is difficult to say for sure “that any shipments of US corn will not be contaminated with trace amounts of MIR162”, the Nebraska plaintiff stated.

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) had encouraged Syngenta to stop selling Viptera, according to the Iowa claim. The NGFA estimated that actions taken in China against US corn have caused prices to drop by 11 cents per bushel. The Iowa suit also claims that the release of Syngenta’s Viptera caused the US to China export market to drop by 85 %. Nebraska plaintiffs, too, accuse Syngenta of having crippled the 2013-14 corn export market to China. The NGFA reported in April 2014 that China had barred nearly 1.45 million tons of corn shipments since 2013.

In 2011, Syngenta requested in federal court that a grain elevator firm, Bunge North America, to remove its signs that said it would not accept Vipera corn. The request was denied.

Concern over the safety of GM food may have played a role in a recent decision by China’s officials to move away from GM production. In August, China’s Ministry of Agriculture announced it would not continue with GM rice and corn [5].

References

  1. “Billion-dollar lawsuits claim GMO corn ‘destroyed’ US export to China”, RT Qestion More, 6 October 2014, http://rt.com/usa/193612-china-lawsuits-gmo-corn/
  2. Farmers Sue Syngenta. Chemical & Engineering News, 13 October 2014, http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i41/Farmers-Sue-Syngenta.html
  3. Event Name: MIR162, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, accessed 13 October 2014, http://www.isaaa.org/gmapprovaldatabase/event/default.asp?EventID=130
  4. Ho MW and Sirinathsinghji E. Ban GMOs Now, ISIS Special Report, June 2013, http://www.thesparc.net/eprint_details/70/ban-gmos-now
  5. “End of the line: GMO production in China halted”, RT Question More, 21 August, 2014, http://rt.com/news/181860-gm-china-rice-stopped/

Written by laudyms

October 13, 2014 at 7:35 am

95% of Income gains going to top 1%

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from The Benefits of Economic Expansions Are Increasingly Going to the Richest Americans

NYT 09/26/14       [Some call it Capitalism- looks more like Cannibalism…..]

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The Finance Industry has Effectively Captured our Government

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In 2009, the Atlantic published an article by Simon Johnson titled The Quiet Coup:

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

Quite simply said- and pretty damn obvious as well. Corporate powers now also dominate the media to effectively suppress conversations about both the coup and what we can do about it. Info overload does the rest.

I believe 70+ % of Americans agree about this state of affairs but most don’t know they have so much company – often because they are encouraged to use divisive rhetoric to express it so that gridlock appears to be the problem.

If TPP becomes a reality, we have no chance of ever getting our country back. Don’t you think it’s about time to loudly protest the theft of Democracy?? ISIL is no threat compared to this one! in fact it’s a joke.

The age of rentier capitalism (we’re more exploited than ever!)

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     from the article: “….once economic liberalization [Neo-Liberalism] took off in the 1980s, the struggle was won decisively by capital, and labor’s share of total income has shrunk everywhere.”

   

Similarly, Neo-Libs and Neo-Cons have dominated politically, leaving little room for any who support social-democracy or justice. Power has consolidated against people.

 

How intellectual property makes us more unequal

Al Jazeera September 7, 2014 

 

It is well known that globalization has put strong downward pressure on wages and benefits of workers in wealthy countries, as companies have offshored and outsourced labor to lower-wage locations and justified wage cuts to try to stay competitive. But politicians and economists have yet to come to terms with the fact that in the rich world the income distribution system itself has broken down irretrievably.

The 20th century was the only century in which most income was divided between capital (profits) and labor (wages), with the struggle for shares mediated by the state through regulations, fiscal policy and a system of social protection. But once economic liberalization took off in the 1980s, the struggle was won decisively by capital, and labor’s share of total income has shrunk everywhere.

Meanwhile, rental income, linked to the control of natural resources, property, financial assets and intellectual property, has become a dominant force in the global economy.

This is the age of rentier capitalism; rich countries are becoming rentier economies. A rising share of global income is going to rent, rather than to wages or profits from productive activities. This perpetuates inequalities: It disproportionately favors the wealthy, and accentuates inequality over generations.  read more here

 

Marching against Monsanto

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Marching against Monsanto

Mae-Wan Ho  The Institute of Science in Society   May 27, 2014

It is wonderful to be here with all of you. I have been marching against Monsanto for close to 20 years now since GM crops were commercialized and I first warned of the dangers of GMOs and Roundup herbicides.

Unfortunately, all my predictions and more have come true. Over the years, farm workers and their families across the world have been seeing sharp rises in birth defects, cancers, allergies, lethal kidney disease and so on. Their livestock die, get diarrhoea, become sterile, cannot conceive, or give birth to dead and deformed animals.

Scientists had to get through tremendous hurdles and obstructions to do the research, not just from Monsanto, but also from corrupt and/or misguided governments, including the UK. For years, practically the only research on safety of GMOs was carried out by the companies themselves, and their raw data are kept from the public as commercially sensitive information.

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World Bank and aid donors accused of enabling land grabs

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by Ellie Violet Bramley    Guardian   May 21, 2014

Aid donors and international institutions including the World Bank and World Economic Forum (WEF) have been accused of promoting an environment that fuels land grabs through policies and initiatives that pave the way for large-scale private investment.

In a report published on Tuesday, the NGO ActionAid says public money and policy incentives such as tax breaks and cut-price loans are facilitating land deals that threaten the lives and livelihoods of small-scale farmers in poor countries.

ActionAid warns that the consequences of such deals, which are too often happening behind closed doors and with little or no consultation with local communities, include “forced evictions, human rights violations, lost livelihoods, divided communities … rising food insecurity and, ultimately, increased poverty”.

A spokesman for the World Bank said it was also concerned about the risks of large-scale land deals and stressed that it did not support investments that took advantage of weak institutions in developing countries.

ActionAid’s report says weak governance and regulation of land use and agricultural investments have left millions of smallholder farmers and indigenous people in vulnerable situations “lack[ing] recognition over their land rights, even if they have resided in or used the area for generations”.

ActionAid’s campaign manager, Antoine Bouhey, said a “nexus of different policies” at the global level, which encourage private investment as a route to development, were also to blame.

“Governments are turning to private capital to fill the massive shortfall in public spending but too often this blind rush for investment is leading to land grabs which are leaving communities landless, homeless and hungry. Growth cannot be achieved at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable,” he said.

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“System Change, Not Climate Change” -how to get there from here

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climate and capitalism

A Left Solution to Climate Change

Climate change is occurring with extreme rapidity. Recent news headlines warn us: “Earth Could Warm 11 Degrees by 2100,” “Huge Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Collapsing,” and “Climate Change Risks Security and Wars.” — and this is just the beginning.

Had extreme measures been inaugurated worldwide 20 years ago to sharply curtail reliance on fossil fuels, much of what we are now experiencing — unwelcome temperature change, dangerous storms, droughts, floods, etc. — would have been minimized. But to this day Washington is among the tiny minority of countries that have refused to ratify the basic UN document on climate change, the Kyoto Protocol.

The current stage of the climate crisis will afflict our Earth for innumerable generations to come, creating increasing havoc. Stage one will eventually transform to a crueler stage two later this century and other stages eventually unless severe measures are introduced immediately. We know the dire consequences for future generations if we fail to act immediately.

David Suzuki got it right when he said on the Bill Moyers PBS program this month: “Our politicians should be thrown in the slammer for willful blindness…. I think that we are being willfully blind to the consequences for our children and grandchildren. It’s an inter-generational crime.”

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