Tuesday, June 4, 2013

[Peninsula-Patriots] China's Purchase of Virginia's Smithfield Foods

THIS IS A LOCAL ISSUE AS WELL AS NATIONAL!  A very informative read with action potential:

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Delegate Bob Marshall <bob@delegatebob.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 2:15 AM
Subject: China's Purchase of Virginia's Smithfield Foods

Dear Friends, 
The proposed sale of Virginia's Smithfield Foods, America's largest Ham producer, to the Chinese Shuanghui company for $4.7 to $7.1 billion (WPost / VA PilotNPR) poses economic, food safety and national security perils for Virginians and the United States.
Please read the letter I wrote to Smithfield CEO, Larry Pope. If you are concerned please see the ACTION ITEM after the letter.

May 31, 2013
Mr. C. Larry Pope
President and Chief Executive Officer
Smithfield Foods,
200 Commerce Street
Smithfield, VA 23430
[Via Fax 757-365-3070]

Dear Mr. Pope:
News that Smithfield is selling its company to the Chinese Shuanghui International has not been received well by my constituents, nor in my own family. While Shuanghui may purchase your physical plant and property, Smithfield's former reputation built up from 1936 will not transfer with the sale. Inevitably, the Smithfield "brand" will suffer, and regrettably, so will many Virginians.

The International Business Times (5/30/13) reported: In 2011, Shuanghui bought pigs raised on fodder containing clenbuterol, an addictive outlawed in 2002; in 2012, Shuanghui ribs contained maggots, and its sausages had excessive bacteria; in February, 2013 Shuanghui sausages were found to contain black threads, and in May Shuanghui sausages went bad well within the sell-by date.
In 2009, two executives at Chinese baby food companies were executed for selling infant milk powder and other products which contained the industrial chemical melamine that killed six children and left about 300,000 ill.
Unsurprisingly, recent Chinese visitors to Australia left store shelves bare of infant formula products prompting the NY Times (1/7/13) to note that Chinese consumer's search "for high-quality products can upend faraway consumer markets, particularly amid concerns about the quality of its food supply."
The Wall Street Journal notes, " Chinese food product imports to the U.S. are continuing to rise, but inspections in both China and the U.S. aren't keeping pace, posing a growing danger to consumers. ... Reports on the state of Chinese food processing establishments are discouraging. More than half of food processing and packaging firms on the Chinese mainland failed safety inspections in 2011." (WSJ 5/21/13)
China's widespread food safety problems are known to American consumers and will engulf Smithfield Food products regardless of the names under which they are sold. My wife, and probably most of her friends, do not buy any food products from China because of significant scandals (dog food, defective tires, baby formula, rat meat sold as lamb, etc.)
Smithfield's sellout to Shuanghui with its bad reputation will harm Virginia job holders, families, small Virginia pork producers unable to compete with a global giant, and yes, even our international Trade Balance as word spreads to homemakers and consumers about your sale of Smithfield to Shuanghui.
Additionally,* converting Smithfield from a publicly held company which has to provide CPA audited reports to the US Securities and Exchange Commission into a private venture will heighten suspicion of the food products produced by Shuanghui.

Further, although the Chinese Company said it will keep present employees and managers in place, what leverage would Smithfield have over future employment policies if Smithfield's American shareholders no longer own the company, or Shuanghui decides to change its Virginia corporate headquarters to Delaware which has no corporate income tax?
How will individual American consumers who may be harmed by Smithfield/Shuanghui, a Chinese company, sue in court when corporate giants like BMW and Mercedes-Benz were unsuccessful in their suits against Chinese car manufacturer, Shuanghuan, for making clones of their cars?
You claimed in the papers that there are no national security concerns from the sale of Smithfield to Shuanghui. I disagree. Armies run on their stomachs.
The Chinese government has been accused by the Obama Administration of cyber-theft stealing of sensitive defense secrets. I question whether this purchase by a company the size of Shuanghui is completely independent of the the Chinese Communist government. What kind of background clearances will be applied to Shuanghui employees who come to Virginia?
Smithfield can sell its products to China, but you should not sell "The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg." The sale of Smithfield to Shuanghui is not in the public interest, and I urge Smithfield management to establish priorities consistent with our national interest.
bob marshall
Delegate Bob Marshall
ACTION ITEM: The sale must be approved by the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS). Last September, President Obama blocked Ralls Corp. from purchasing four Oregon wind farm companies near a U.S. naval weapons facility because of national security concerns. Ralls is a Delaware corporation owned by Chinese nationals.
CFIUS is sensitive to congressional concerns and inquiries, especially if they are citizen generated. Ask your Virginia Senators and Congressmen to share your concerns about this sale with the CFIUS and what they will do about this pending sale. For the most impact, write your federal representatives by June 20.
Paid for and authorized by Friends of Bob Marshall.
Contact Information:
703-361-5416 (office and fax)
703-853-4213 (cell) (preferred)
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 421
Manassas, VA 20108

Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Bob Marshall

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