ChemChina and Syngenta announced today that they have received approval from the European Commission for the proposed acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina, according to a joint-released statement by the two companies. This represents a major step towards the closing of the transaction, which is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2017.

The China National Chemical Corporation, known as ChemChina, has made a number of purchases in recent years in Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Once completed, the Syngenta purchase will be China’s biggest foreign deal ever.

The purchase is part of a continuation of mergers in the crop protection industry. The other two in progress are a proposed merger between Dow Chemical and DuPont Co and Bayer Ag’s decision to purchase Monsanto. If completed, the industry will go from six key players in the industry to three—one each for the U.S., Germany and China. The result of consolidation in the U.S., at least in the short term, is that farmers and retailers will have fewer manufacturers from which to purchase crop-protection products and related services.

Syngenta was formed in November 2000 by the merger of the agribusinesses of Novartis and AstraZeneca.

Syngenta reported sales of $13.4 billion in 2015, of which 27 percent came from North America. The company employs more than 28,000 people in over 90 countries.