As trade talks loom, Chinese firms look into buying US farm goods


  • Economy
  • Friday, 13 Sep 2019

BEIJING: Chinese companies have started to inquire about prices for US agricultural goods purchases, Beijing said, in a further sign of potential de-escalation in the bitter and protracted trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

The move comes before a planned meeting in early October between top U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators in Washington aimed at easing a trade conflict that has disrupted global supply chains and rattled financial markets.

On Wednesday, Beijing and Washington both made concessions on planned tariffs, helping lift global stocks as well as China’s yuan currency.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing in Beijing on Thursday, Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said China welcomed the U.S. move.

“According to my understanding, Chinese firms have started to inquire about prices for U.S. agricultural goods. (China) hopes both sides would continue to meet each other half way and adopt concrete actions to create favourable conditions for negotiations,” Gao said.

Possible purchases of U.S. farm goods included pork and soybeans, Gao said, both of which are still subject to hefty Chinese duties.

Despite tariffs of 62% in place since last year, U.S. exports of pork to China jumped 51% in the first seven months of 2019 over last year to 240,000 tonnes, according to the US Meat Export Federation.

On Wednesday, the United States agreed to delay increasing tariffs on US$250bil worth of Chinese imports from Oct 1 to Oct 15 “as a gesture of goodwill.” — Reuters

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