From Vietnam’s vantage point, one of America’s most infamous corporations is Monsanto, a major manufacturer of a chemical that the US military used to denude forests during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange also gets blamed for causing nearly one million deaths and deformities as well as a legacy of lingering diseases that continue to plague Vietnam’s population today.
But just as Vietnam’s relationship with the US has taken a 180-degree turn since the war, Monsanto has evolved — and is back in Vietnam peddling a much different product: high-tech agriculture.
Vietnam is said to be courting Monsanto to bring in genetically modified seeds that could boost crop yields. The partnership makes sense because Monsanto is a world leader in seed genetics while Vietnam is a growing leader in agricultural exports.
Even so, the controversial alliance is sure to test US-VN business and diplomatic strength over the coming months as people in both countries old enough to remember the Vietnam War learn about it.