Arkansas has become the first state to mandate that a Chinese company forfeit ownership of local land, citing concerns of potential espionage and malicious influence by Beijing.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders declared that Syngenta, a Switzerland-headquartered agricultural chemicals producer acquired by China National Chemical Corporation in 2017, must give up its 160 acres of land holdings in Arkansas.
“Seeds are technology,” Sanders said. “Chinese state-owned corporations filter that technology back to their homeland, stealing American research and revealing critical insights on how to target American farms. That is a clear threat to our national security.”
Chinese theft of US intellectual property costs the US between $225 billion and $600 billion annually, as reported by Newsweek.
Recent allegations from farmers in Iowa accused China of stealing genetically enhanced seed samples directly from fields.
Governor Sanders added that Chinese law compels its nationals abroad to cooperate with intelligence efforts.
Following Sanders’ announcement, Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas urged other states to follow suit, refusing Chinese Communist ownership of American land.
In Canada, Syngenta has offices in Guelph, Ontario, and in Calgary, Alberta, as well as research farms in Ontario and Manitoba.
Syngenta has not commented on the development at the time of publication.
Last year, the DOJ announced espionage-related charges against multiple Chinese spies on Monday and hinted at more actions, leading to speculation that it will remove all Chinese “police” stations in the US – like the three in Toronto.
“In three separate cases in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Eastern District of New York and the District of New Jersey,” their website reads, “the Justice Department has charged 13 individuals, including members of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) security and intelligence apparatus and their agents, for alleged efforts to unlawfully exert influence in the United States for the benefit of the government of the PRC.”