Iowan farmers are reportedly accusing China of stealing valuable seed samples from the U.S. that have been genetically modified to improve crops and reproduce them.
The farmers recently emphasized their concerns to a bipartisan delegation of congressional lawmakers during a roundtable meeting titled, “The impacts of the [Chinese Communist Party’s] malign tactics to undermine American agriculture” in Dysart, Iowa, as reported by Townhall.
— The Select Committee on the CCP (@committeeonccp) August 4, 2023
Newsweek reported that farmers pay a fee to use genetically seeds. When Chinese individuals steal those seeds, enabling Chinese firms to skip crucial research and development, they steal American intellectual property and trade secrets, which puts them at an advantage.
“In my opinion, it’s part of a much larger, country-wide, slow-motion heist of American intellectual property,” Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) said during the roundtable. “We have a duty to protect all our technology, whether in Silicon Valley or a cornfield here in Iowa.”
“Both the Trump and Biden Administrations have oriented U.S. strategy around competing with the Chinese Communist Party—but we are not competing if we’re letting the CCP steal hundreds of billions of dollars from Americans,” Gallagher continued.
“We’re throwing the game from the outset. So just like the farmer in the Iowa field, you’re being robbed every day in plain sight by the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.
The congressional roundtable pointed to a case in 2012 where an Iowan farmer caught a man wearing business attire digging up genetically modified seeds, which were then sent to China.
The man was later arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for stealing U.S. agriculture trade secrets and was sent back to China in 2016.
The FBI estimates that Chinese theft of American agriculture costs the U.S. economy over $600 billion annually.
In 2013, FBI Director Christopher Wray acknowledged the issue, saying there has been a 1,300% increase in agricultural theft and corporate espionage cases pointing to China.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) also stressed that agriculture innovation is a crucial part of the U.S. economy and that having the Chinese Communist Party steal trade secrets from hard-working is truly unacceptable.
During the congressional roundtable, another farmer said, “When they steal that, and they use all that technology for nothing, they are stealing from every Iowa farmer and every farmer in America that’s using that type of technology.”