China Firms Stop Purchases of US Farm Produce: State Media

A woman walks towards a U.S. embassy car outside a hotel in Shanghai on Tuesday

GuanA woman walks towards a U.S. embassy car outside a hotel in Shanghai on Tuesday

China's Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday that Chinese companies have stopped buying USA agricultural products, and that China will not rule out imposing import tariffs on United States farm products that were bought after August 3.

In a statement, the ministry said the U.S. plan was a serious violation of the talks between the two countries and it has not ruled out imposing additional tariffs on USA agricultural products.

Xinhua gave no more details.

Since July 19, Chinese companies have made inquiries about purchasing US soybeans, sorghum, wheat, corn, cotton, dairy products, hay, ethyl alcohol, soybean oil, wine, beer, fresh and processed fruits and other agricultural products.

Trump a year ago imposed tariffs because of complaints over Chinese trade practices, sparking a trade war leading to duties on hundreds of billions worth of two-way trade between the world's two largest economies.

Last week, Trump announced on Twitter that he would be enacting a 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods beginning September 1, after representatives from both sides met for in-person trade talks for the first time in more than two months.

The extra 10 per cent duties Trump plans to implement from September 1 would mean he has now targeted virtually all of the roughly Dollars 550 billion in goods America buys from China every year.

China imported $9.1 billion of USA farm produce in 2018 - mainly soybeans Sc1, dairy, sorghum and pork LHc1 - down from $19.5 billion in 2017, according to the American Farm Bureau.

"China's market capacity is large and it has bright prospects for importing high-quality USA agricultural products", the Commerce Ministry said.

China is the world's top buyer of soybeans, the most valuable USA export crop.

China bought 130,000 tonnes of soybeans, 120,000 tonnes of sorghum, 60,000 tonnes of wheat, 40,000 tonnes of pork and products, and 25,000 tonnes of cotton from the United States between July 19 and August 2, the NDRC official said.

"It is hoped that the USA will conscientiously implement the consensus reached at the meeting between the heads of state of China and the U.S., and have the confidence to implement the commitments to create the necessary conditions for cooperation in the agricultural fields between the two countries", the Xinhua report said.

Since the start of the USA crop year in September, China has agreed to buy only 14 million tonnes, of which 10 million has been shipped. China bought 32.9 million tonnes of US soybeans in 2017, before the trade war.

The National Pork Producers Council said in an email it was important to end the trade war so pork producers could "more fully participate in a historic sales opportunity".

Farmers can start applying for the next round of trade aid this month, but trade uncertainty makes long-term planning hard. "They have helped but we'd rather have open markets because it creates stability in our financial sectors", said Derek Sawyer, 39, a corn, soybean, wheat and cattle farm from McPherson, Kansas.

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