- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: ‘Get yourself some firearms’
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
By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
- Obama calls GOP lawsuit over executive overreach a 'political stunt'
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- PRUDEN: 'Dirty Harry' Reids increasing eccentricity
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: 'We cannot afford to wait on Congress' for immigration
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: 'Get yourself some firearms'
- Veteran with concealed weapon turns tables on Chicago gunman
- Bush fixed bowling lanes that Obama wants to renovate
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- Bloomberg: Pro-gun towns must lack roads
- Google Glass-equipped rifles can fire around corners: It's 'mind-blowing when you actually do it'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs