(Correcting to show Gao has retired and not is retiring in 1st and 3rd paragraphs.)
By Chen Aizhu
BEIJING, March 6 (Reuters) - China’s Commerce Ministry has not received an application from ChemChina seeking approval for its planned $43 billion takeover of Syngenta , Gao Hucheng, who recently retired as commerce minister, said on Monday.
The government will only start the process of considering any application from ChemChina after other regulatory steps in other countries are complete, he said on the sidelines of China’s annual parliament meeting.
The government announced less than two weeks ago that Gao retired and was replaced by his deputy Zhong Shan.
His comments come a month after Syngenta delayed the expected closure of the deal, the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company, to the second quarter amid scrutiny from U.S. and European regulators.
The approval process has drawn intense interest from investors as two other major tie-ups in the pesticides and seeds industry are being examined by regulators across the globe: Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto and the merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont.
Syngenta Chief Executive Erik Fyrwald said last month he is confident the deal would win approval from the regulator in China, the world’s top agricultural market, without causing any delay. (Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Writing by Josephine Mason Editing by Christian Schmollinger)