Following a suspension notice by the White House, South Africa is holding urgent discussions in an attempt to avert a U.S. suspension of part of a trade agreement between the two countries. South Africa’s minister of trade Rob Davies said they take the letter seriously as a warning. President Obama notified South Africa about the suspension. South African agricultural exports would be excluded from benefiting from the African Growth and Opportunity Act because the southern African nation continues to bar American agricultural products. Davies said his department and their American counterparts are “tantalizingly close” to reaching an agreement.

Syngenta is discussing with DuPont a potential combination with DuPont’s agriculture division. However, sources said the discussions are at an early stage and may result in no deal. The talks though have clearly gathered steam since Monsanto in August abandoned its effort to acquire Syngenta for as much as $46 billion after being turned away by the Swiss company. That deal would have created the world’s largest supplier of seeds and pesticides.

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