Courts Issue Orders Requiring Both Sides (Plaintiffs and Defendants) to Participate in Non-Binding Settlement Discussions
As frequently occurs in complex litigation, the judges presiding over the cases in the federal and state courts in Kansas, Illinois, and Minnesota have issued orders requiring both sides (plaintiffs and defendants) to participate in non-binding settlement discussions, while making clear that the litigation will continue. Syngenta will act in good faith and cooperate in this court-ordered process while continuing to defend itself against plaintiffs’ claims. To be clear, Syngenta believes that the Viptera China lawsuits lack any merit because American farmers have the right to access safe, effective, U.S.- approved technologies like Agrisure Viptera.
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Court Issues Order on Motion to Dismiss
As many of you have now heard, the Federal Court presiding over the Viptera China litigation in Kansas has issued an order regarding Syngenta’s Motion to Dismiss. A “Motion to Dismiss” is a preliminary step in which the Court evaluates whether a lawsuit can proceed but is legally required to take the plaintiffs’ allegations at face value. Although it is rare for Motions to Dismiss to be granted, Syngenta was successful in convincing the Court to dismiss a number of the plaintiffs’ claims. It is important to note that the Court did not rule that the remaining claims have merit, only that they could proceed. The plaintiffs will now have to actually prove those claims with real evidence.
Syngenta continues to believe the lawsuits are without merit and we will continue to defend the rights of American farmers to have access to safe, effective, U.S.-approved technologies like Agrisure Viptera. We commercialized Viptera in full compliance with regulatory and legal requirements, and USDA statistics make clear that the commodity price of corn declined before China’s rejection of U.S. corn in November 2013.
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Key Facts About Viptera China Lawsuits
Syngenta believes the Viptera China lawsuits have no merit.
We commercialized Agrisure Viptera in full compliance with regulatory and legal requirements and independent third-party statements support our belief about the lawsuits.
When we launched in 2010, the Agrisure Viptera trait had received approval in the key import markets recommended at the time by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and other industry associations. At the time, China had been mainly an exporter in corn.
According to USDA, the commodity price of corn declined 32% (from $6.79 to $4.63 a bushel) between July and October 2013—prior to China’s rejection of U.S. corn in November 2013.
Overall, most corn produced in the United States is used domestically. According to the USDA, exports account for a relatively small portion of demand for U.S. corn—about 15 percent. US exports to China represent an even smaller amount—less than 1% of US corn is exported to China.
In the past, other trait technology providers such as Dow and Monsanto have launched U.S.-approved corn traits in the U.S. without waiting for Chinese import approval.
Launching Agrisure Viptera was important to ensure growers had access to the latest technology approved in the U.S. and key import markets. Over this time, Agrisure Viptera has demonstrated major benefits for growers, preventing significant yield and grain quality losses resulting from damage by a broad spectrum of lepidopteron pests.
As everyone knows, commodity corn prices have declined since the summer of 2013 for other reasons such as the bumper corn crop here and elsewhere, including China.
U.S. exports of DDGs have actually increased since the time Agrisure Viptera was commercialized, but prices have changed due to other factors, including factors such as supply and demand (U.S. Exports of Corn-Based Products Continue to Climb).
Viptera Has Been Approved For Import In China
On December 22, 2014, China approved importation of Agrisure Viptera corn. China now joins a host of countries where Viptera is approved for import.
Syngenta applied for import approval into China in March 2010. Since then, Syngenta has worked closely with China’s Ministry of Agriculture, and has been steadfast that the product should be approved. This website will provide U.S. corn growers and others with facts and clarity on the approval process.
Viptera has been approved in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico and several other countries since 2010. Viptera won import approval in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Indonesia in 2011, and in 2012 Viptera imports were approved by the European Union.
In a world with a growing population, the equation is simple: More control over insects equals a safer, more reliable food supply for a hungry planet.