The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing today to examine the implications of a proposed Chinese takeover of the largest pork processor in the United States.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley serves on the committee which will review Shuanghui International’s purchase of Smithfield Foods. “The purpose of the hearing is to explore how the U.S. government will be analyzing the deal from a food safety through an intellectual property standpoint and the impact on the U.S. food supply,” Grassley says.
Iowa is the top hog producing state in the U.S. Grassley, a Republican, says he’s looking for reassurance that independent hog farmers will remain viable in the Midwest. Grassley asks: “As Smithfield becomes even more capital rich, is there potential for non-Smithfield growers of being shut out of the marketplace? So, will the independent producer be able to market their product and get a fair price?”
Grassley says the Justice Department should consider what he calls “the unique aspects of agriculture” when it reviews the deal. There are some good things that could come from the deal, according to Grassley. “Of course, increased trade opportunity will almost certainly be a boost to an industry that saw its domestic production fall over the last few years,” Grassley said.
Smithfield’s chief executive, a pair of academics, and a member of the U.S./China Economic and Security Review Commission are among the individuals who will testify before the Senate panel.