Chinese pork deal faces legal hurdles

Decades-old laws barring foreign ownership of farmland in Iowa, Missouri and at least three other states may complicate Shuanghui’s $4.7bn planned purchase of US pork powerhouse Smithfield Foods. The deal, which would be the biggest purchase in the US by a Chinese firm, will face scrutiny from a federal government panel that assesses national security risks, but is not expected to block the sale. A few politicians have raised concerns about food safety, and farmers groups have expressed worries about consolidation and damage to small farmers. The land laws could be invoked by those opposed to the deal, and at the very least may require complex legal manoeuvring by the companies.