US authorities close to approving $43bn Syngenta acquisition

Syngenta acquisition: The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is close to giving ChemChina the all-clear for its planned  $43bn acquisition of Syngenta, it emerged over the weekend,  with sources within both companies now hoping that a final decision could be taken as early as this week. 
The CFIUS began reviewing the Chinese company’s acquisition of the world’s largest pesticide makers after several U.S. lawmakers wrote to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew asking for CFIUS to subject the deal to additional scrutiny over its impact on domestic food security. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also participated in the review. Headquartered in Carolina, Syngenta is a key player in the market for pesticides and seeds and has other facilities in North Carolina, as well a presence in California, Delaware, Iowa and Minnesota, among other states.
First announced in February, the deal is the largest foreign acquisition ever by a Chinese company and is part of Beijing’s attempts to secure food supplies for its increasingly affluent and urbanised population, whose growing appetite for agriculturally intensive food products has driven food price inflation forcefully up the country’s political agenda.
To date, China has approved the establishment of over 1,500 industrial development zones across the country and the subsequent urbanisation has seen the proportion of its population living in cities grow from 26% to 56% between 1990 and 2015, but the process has  also eaten into what viable farm land exists around cities. It is estimated that China has lost around 8.3m ha of arable land over the past 20 years, and the remaining acreage has been intensively farmed with strong fertilizers and pesticides, many of which are on the World Health Organisation’s banned list.
In recent years China has also purchased and leased large tracts of farmland in countries like Algeria and Zimbabwe to meet demand back home. 
Source: reuters