Arkansas Takes Stand Against Chinese Land Ownership

In a bold move, Arkansas has become the first state to directly challenge foreign land ownership, targeting a Chinese state-owned entity. Attorney General Tim Griffin announced that Northrup King Seed Co., a subsidiary of the Switzerland-based Syngenta Group owned by ChemChina, will be required to relinquish its hold on approximately 160 acres of land in Craighead County.

The genesis of this decision rests on the violation of Arkansas Act 636 of 2023. This law disallows foreign entities identified as adversaries of the United States from owning agricultural land within the state. Notably, ChemChina, the parent company of Syngenta, has been flagged by the Department of Defense as one of the Chinese military companies posing a significant threat.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) was unwavering in her support of this directive. ‚ÄúFor too long, in the name of tolerance, we‚Äôve let these dangerous governments infiltrate our country. Arkansas will tolerate them no longer,‚ÄĚ asserted Sanders. She went on to highlight that the initiative wasn’t an isolated one but rooted in national security concerns.

Sanders mentioned that laws from the Chinese government demand their citizens abroad collaborate with the country’s security officials, emphasizing the potential risks of having such entities own significant tracts of land in the U.S.

Other states are catching on, too. Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Montana have either implemented or are considering similar legislation, indicative of a growing national trend. Such state-driven measures underscore the escalating concerns around foreign ownership of U.S. assets, especially by nations perceived as adversaries.

Griffin echoed the sentiment with his military background spanning nearly three decades. He detailed a historical trend of the Chinese government’s interest in non-military U.S. assets. ‚ÄúThere is nothing that is off limits for them if they think it will strengthen them strategically,‚ÄĚ said Griffin.

Having owned the Arkansas land since 1988 for research and development, Syngenta called the order “shortsighted” and maintained that no directive from China had influenced its land acquisition decisions in the United States. However, with two years to divest its land ownership or face potential legal actions and a civil penalty of $280,000, the clock is ticking for Syngenta.

To naysayers or those questioning the relevance of this action, Griffin had a clear message: ‚ÄúFor those of you who think this is some sort of outlier, you‚Äôre wrong.‚ÄĚ

The Arkansas decision is a powerful reminder of the intricate balance between global commerce and national security concerns. As foreign entities own a significant portion of U.S. agricultural land, states are taking proactive steps to ensure that national interests aren’t compromised.