WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned Dow AgroSciences CEO and President Tim Hassinger, DuPont Executive Vice President James C. Collins, and other industry representatives about the impact of a DuPont-Dow merger on agriculture innovation.
Excerpts from the hearing below:
Sen. Coons: “Mr. Hassinger and Mr. Collins, if you would – two things: I’m concerned about innovation. We’ve had a lot of questions and a lot of comments about how the Dow-DuPont merger will actually advance and incentivize innovation. I’d just be interested in hearing from your view, what it is about this combination that will guarantee a commitment to innovation in the long term. I think when this hearing was first debated or discussed it was in a very different global competitive environment. Now, that you’ve got ChemChina-Syngenta, Bayer-Monsanto, it’s in a somewhat different environment than even a few weeks or months ago. Tell me about your companies commitment to innovation – what difference will that make for farmers and consumers? What will the impact of that merger be for the communities in the home states you represent?
Tim Hassinger: “Senator, the first thing I want to really emphasize is that the focus on innovation is the upmost importance. Our future as an organization is going to be extremely dependent upon how successful we are as an innovator. So it is definitely a priority for this organization, what will be this new organization going forward. How we will achieve that is first of all, I want to emphasize – a term that’s been used already today, is the complimentary side. Dow strength coming from the crop protection and in the trait development side, but lacking in the seed scale. DuPont strength, coming from the seed side, specifically the germ plasma—bringing that combination together is the real key link here between these two organizations.
“Now, when it comes to specifics on innovation, we’re going to see where there are duplications, and this will offer some opportunities for efficiency, but we are going to emphasize where we have different capabilities and be able to come with a broader base of capabilities, or of ability in that area. So that’s the key area that we are focused on -- is finding duplication and making sure then we can emphasize where we come with different approaches and take the best of both.”
Sen. Coons: “Mr. Collins, can you just briefly reassure consumers or farmers that this won’t lead to an anti-competitive outcome?”
James C. Collins: “I would just add that in order to maintain the competitive edge that as a new company coming together in the market and to maintain our ability to continue to bring products to growers to solve their needs, we have to have a strong innovation pipeline. The ever-changing regulatory environment creates new hurdles we have to meet everyday, changing climate conditions, changing consumer demands -- means that if we don’t innovate, and bring those new products to the market, we fall behind in our ability to help our customers. And we put that customer centricity as a really important, central pillar to what we are trying to create with the new company.”