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Canada could be next


April 10, 2018. On Monday April 9, the Wall Street Journal reported that the United States Department of Justice has agreed to allow a merger between seed and pesticide companies Bayer and Monsanto, creating the largest seed and pesticide company in the world. A US approval means that Canada could also soon permit the merger.

The US Department of Justice has not yet officially announced the deal, along with any conditions for the approval. Europe allowed the merger on the condition that Bayer sell some of its seeds, pesticides and digital farming investments to remove overlaps with Monsanto.

A decision from Canada’s Competition Bureau is also required but no timeline has been provided. The proposed merger requires regulatory approval from anti-trust agencies across the world.

“A US decision brings a Canadian announcement closer,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN). “Canada is on the verge of making a decision that will affect farmers and consumers for many decades. It will shape the future of food and farming in Canada and across the world.”

The new merged company could control around 30 percent of the world’s commercial seed market and 25 percent of agricultural pesticides.

“A merger of this size creates an unprecedented level of corporate control over seeds and pesticides,” said Sharratt.

CBAN is calling on the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to stop the merger.

In September 2016, Bayer announced its bid to takeover Monsanto. At that time, CBAN submitted comments to the Competition Bureau arguing that the merger could further increase the price of seed, decrease choice in the marketplace for Canadian farmers, and stifle research and development.(1)

As part of their investigations into the merger, the Competition Bureau interviewed CBAN on March 13, 2018.

Bayer is the world’s second largest pesticide company and Monsanto is already the largest seed company in the world, with a dominant position over genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) traits. Both companies sell seeds, GM seeds, and pesticides.

The European Commission approved the merger on March 21 and Brazil on February 7.

For more information: Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 809 1103

NOTES: (1) CBAN submitted comments to the Competition Bureau in 2016: