Top leaders from both parties on the House Select Committee on the Communist Party of China are zeroing-in on CCP attempts to steal U.S. agriculture intellectual property, like seed engineering technology.

Last week, committee chairman Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., traveled to Dysart, Iowa, along with Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, to speak to farmers about agricultural technology theft and the impacts of CCP’s malign tactics to undermine American agriculture.

“Our country is filled with invisible factories and invisible farms — those that would have been built or planted here if we’d chosen to protect American technology and resources,” Gallagher said. 

“Both the Trump and Biden administrations have oriented U.S. strategy around ‘competing’ with the Chinese Communist Party. But we’re not “competing” if we’re letting the CCP steal hundreds of billions of dollars from Americans–we’re throwing the game from the outset.” 


Mike Gallagher at House hearing

Chairman Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., listens during a hearing of a special House committee dedicated to countering China, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Gallagher referenced a 2011 case involving a field manager in Iowa, who uncovered a Chinese seed smuggling ring attempting to steal American seed trade secrets. 

The FBI has investigated many such cases, In 2018, the Justice Department prosecuted a Chinese scientist who was ultimately sentenced to 121 months in a federal prison for conspiring to steal samples of a variety of rice seeds from a Kansas biopharmaceutical research facility.

Last year, Xiang Haitao, a People’s Republic of China national, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit economic espionage and was sentenced to more than two years in prison for stealing a central algorithm to a software platform being developed by his employer, a Monsanto subsidiary, for farmers to visualize and analyze field data. 

Xiang took copies of the algorithm on a one-way flight back to China, where he later worked for the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institute of Soil Science. Economic espionage charges require evidence that the activities were intended to benefit a foreign government or foreign agent–in this case, the CCP and the companies that operate at its behest. 

“Why is the Chinese Communist Party after our seeds and agricultural technology? It’s part of a much larger, country-wide, slow motion heist of American intellectual property,” Gallagher said. 

corn field in Iowa

A field of corn is shown in this file photo from Pacific Junction, Iowa. There is growing bipartisan concern in Congress about entities tied to the Chinese government buying up farming acreage in America’s heartland. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

Krishnamoorthi said that the United States has to take this threat “very seriously” and “show the CCP some consequences for these actions.” 

“They can’t go on unaccountable for it, “Krishnamoorthi said in an interview with Fox News Digital. 

Krishnamoorthi said sanctions should be considered, and that the U.S. should take a “multilateral” approach with partner nations to hold the CCP accountable. 

“[O]ne thing that I believe the CCP especially fears is that we, in concert with our allies, friends and partners around the world, hold them accountable for their offenses. They would much rather have us be played off against each other. And if we work with our friends and partners and allies, in addition to doing whatever we have to do unilaterally, I think that that is going to be more effective,” Krishnamoorthi said.

Targeting American agriculture, Gallagher said, has a duel purpose for the CCP. Speaking with Fox News Digital, Gallagher said Bejing has an overall objective of stealing all American IP.

The FBI has estimated that China steals between $225 to 600 billion of American IP and trade secrets every year, which equates to around $4,000 stolen per American family of four.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has stated that the FBI opens a new China-related case every 10 hours, and former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander called cybercrime “the greatest transfer of wealth in human history.” 

Gallagher said a secondary motive is that China is food insecure. 

“They’re the biggest importer of corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, dairy products in the world, and Xi Jinping is obsessed with food security, perhaps in part of as part of a way to prepare for a conflict with the West over Taiwan,” Gallagher said. 


Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Rep. Hinson said that the “status quo” of U.S. trade policy with China is “not working. “We need to make sure China is playing fair”

“We know China doesn’t play by the rules and continues to undercut the American farmer. So we need to make sure as we’re moving forward with policy there that that we’re very clear about those intentions,” the Iowa Republican said. 


Iowa Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson

Representative Ashley Hinson, a Republican from Iowa, during a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. (Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“As we’re having discussions about trade, and any potential access to markets going forward, we need to make sure that there’s actual accountability there,” she said. 


Hinson also said that the Biden administration’s “speak softly rhetoric diplomacy is not going to work anymore.” 

“We need to demand changes in the CCP’s behavior and that starts by how we talk to them. It starts by what we’re doing to actually build up our military for deterrence. And all of those things have to work together to make sure we don’t end up in a conflict with China and we can remain competitive,” she said. 

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