Smithfield Foods unaffected by ‘foreign adversaries’ law, company, state say

The Smithfield Times

Smithfield Foods, though now owned by Hong Kong-based WH Group, maintains its corporate headquarters in Smithfield. A new state law barring “foreign adversaries” from owning Virginia farmland should have no impact on the community’s Chinese-owned anchor employer, Smithfield Foods, according to a company spokesman and the governor’s office.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed legislation on March 27 that declares “void” any purchase of farmland by a “foreign government or nongovernment person” the U.S. Secretary of Commerce has determined to have “engaged in a long-term pattern or serious instance of conduct significantly adverse” to national security. The secretary’s list, as of March 30, named five nations, including China and its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The new state law allows Virginia’s attorney general or any county, city or town attorney in a locality where a foreign land purchase has occurred to “file an action” to “eject the foreign adversary from possession,” at which point the land would be deeded to the state at no cost.

Hong Kong-based WH Group purchased Smithfield Foods in 2013, though the global meatpacking giant remains headquartered in Smithfield, where it was founded in 1936. According to Smithfield’s vice president of corporate affairs, Jim Monroe, the company currently owns just over 3,900 acres of farmland in Virginia.

“We are not impacted because we are not owned or controlled by a foreign government,” Monroe said.

Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter agreed that Smithfield Foods is “not impacted by the legislation” and is “not a foreign adversary, as defined by the bill.” Continue reading HERE.