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"U.S. farmers suing Syngenta AG over its decision to commercialize a genetically modified (GMO) strain of corn before China approved importing it sought court approval on Monday of a record $1.51 billion (£1.1 billion) settlement with the Swiss seed company. The deal covers U.S. corn producers, grain handling facilities and ethanol plants nationwide that sold corn priced after Sept. 15, 2013, according to a filing in Kansas federal court. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said in a statement that they believed the deal to be the largest agricultural class action settlement in U.S. history. “We are very pleased with this outcome,” they said. Cargill Inc is still pursuing separate claims against Syngenta and is not part of the settlement. Archer Daniels Midland Co announced it reached a separate settlement with Syngenta in February. Syngenta, which is now owned by Chinese chemical company ChemChina, could not immediately be reached for comment. The settlement was first reported in September, but its details were not made public until Monday’s filing. The farmers’ class action lawsuit, which was certified in 2016, concerns Syngenta’s 2010 decision to sell a strain of insect-resistant GMO corn called Agrisure Viptera in the United States. Lawyers for the corn farmers said Syngenta negligently commercialized the seeds before obtaining import approval from China, then a major buyer of U.S. corn. Chinese authorities ultimately rejected millions of tonnes of the U.S. corn imports before the country later approved Viptera for import in December 2014...The loss of the Chinese market caused U.S. corn prices to plummet, the farmers’ lawyers said."

Posted March 13th, 2018