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Sector Update: Syngenta AG Sued by Cargill For Sale of Corn Seed Banned in China

Syngenta AG ( SYT ), a seed maker based in Switzerland, is being sued by Cargill for commercializing its Agrisure Viptera seed, better known as MIR-162, that's been banned in China for containing certain genetically engineered traits, Cargill said on Friday.

Cargill, which ships, trades and markets agricultural products and is the largest closely held company in the U.S., claims it loaded vessels in Louisiana ports that were destined for and ultimately rejected by China.

Syngenta continued to market its MIR-162 seed before getting approval from China, a large market for U.S. agricultural products, thereby hurting the U.S. agriculture industry, Cargill claims.

"Unlike other seed companies, Syngenta has not practiced responsible stewardship by broadly commercializing a new product before receiving approval from a key export market like China," said Mark Stonacek, the president of Cargill Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain North America. "Syngenta also put the ability of U.S. agriculture to serve global markets at risk, costing both Cargill and the entire U.S. agricultural industry significant damages."

China has rejected imports of U.S. corn since last November because of the presence of Syngenta's MIR-162 insecticide-resistance trait. Exports of U.S. corn in the first half of 2014 to the Asian country fell by nearly 90% versus the same timeframe a year earlier, according to the Department of Agriculture.

A study by the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) showed U.S. exporters and farmers lost nearly $3 billion because of China's ban.

Syngenta fell 0.7% on the Swiss Stock Exchange.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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