Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today released the following statement regarding the approval of the purchase of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods by Shuanghui Intl., a Chinese food company. The acquisition, which represents the largest-ever purchase of an American company by a Chinese company, was approved through a review process conducted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Because this review includes issues of national security, it is done in secret with no public oversight or transparency.
“It remains unclear what factors the Committee took into account in making its decision. We still do not know if the potential impact on American food security, the transfer of taxpayer funded innovation to a foreign competitor, or China’s protectionist trade barriers were considered. It’s troubling that taxpayers have received no assurances that these critical issues have been taken into account in transferring control of one of America’s largest food producers to a Chinese competitor with a spotty record on food safety. The Senate Agriculture Committee will continue examining the effectiveness of the review process for acquisitions such as this and take steps as needed to protect American interests in future transactions.”