- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
Senate panel to examine Smithfield sale to Chinese company
Question of the Day
A Senate committee on Thursday announced plans to hold a hearing next month on the proposed $4.7 billion takeover of America’s top pork producer by a Chinese rival — the biggest takeover of a U.S. corporation by a Chinese company ever.
Virginia-based Smithfield Foods and China’s Shuanghui International are fighting to keep alive the proposed deal, which is under scrutiny in Washington because of national security concerns about a Chinese company owning an important U.S. food producer.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat, on Thursday called for a July 10 hearing so the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, which she chairs, can review the implications the merger would have on American food safety, security and supply. Smithfield CEO Larry Pope will testify at the hearing.
The sale is already being reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency panel that focuses on national security implications that is chaired by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
Ms. Stabenow and 14 other senators, mostly from the agriculture committee, sent a letter to Mr. Lew asking him to bring the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration into the review process, though that hasn’t happened yet.
Smithfield has said it will cooperate with Washington’s oversight requests. On Thursday, the company issued a statement reasserting its intent to comply with any and all reviews.
“As we said previously, we welcome a full review and fair consideration of the Shuanghui-Smithfield combination from the U.S. government,” the company said in a statement. “We believe the proposed combination does not present any national security concerns, and is good for U.S. farmers and agriculture and will advance U.S.-China relations. We will continue to provide Congress and [Committee on Foreign Investment] with all the information requested to allow a full and timely review of the combination.”
The person, who asked that his name not be used, said Congress’ involvement might be “a little bit misguided” but isn’t likely to derail the deal. “It’s not like this is knocking us on our backs or we’re stunned by this or anything like that, because we were anticipating that they would get involved.”
Shuanghui has indicated it is interested in buying Smithfield so it can export less-expensive and better-quality pork from the U.S. to China. But lawmakers seem concerned that this would open the door for Shuanghui to send Chinese pork that doesn’t meet U.S. food safety standards to this country.
“We hope the U.S. will treat the merger case fairly and properly,” it said in a statement that was its first response to questions raised by the lawmakers.
The concern that China would use Smithfield to import pork into the United States is so “ridiculous,” according to a source familiar with the matter, that it’s like “Saudi Arabia worrying about crappy oil being important from the United States.”
Or, as Smithfield CEO Larry Pope put it: “That’s sort of like exporting ice to the Eskimos. It’s a dumb idea.”
But Ms. Stabenow believes the hearing will help clear up concerns about food safety and supply.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tim Devaney is a national reporter who covers business and international trade for The Washington Times. Previously, he worked for the Detroit News, Grand Rapids Press, Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News. Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Dysfunction, disarray at Homeland Security management cited in IG's report
- GM's Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- Treasury sells last shares in 'Government Motors'
- U.S. businesses reach out quickly to partners in Iran
- General Motors ending Chevrolet sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq