Truck driver Marion Howard watches soybeans load into her truck Wednesday, October 11, 2017, at Chris Crosskno’s farm near Denton, Missouri.
JB Forbes | St. Louis Post-Expedition | TNS | Getty Images
President Donald Trump has said China will start buying American agricultural products “in large quantities”.
His comments came after his decision to delay increasing tariffs on $ 250 billion in Chinese goods from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15 as a “goodwill gesture” to China.
China’s Commerce Ministry said Thursday that Chinese companies have started inquiring about the prices of U.S. agricultural products, including soybeans and pork. The country halted purchases in August when Trump abruptly ended the trade ceasefire. China’s agricultural purchases have been a sticking point in the trade battle, as Trump has repeatedly accused China of breaking its promises.
“Now when it comes to agriculture, we expect and we want them to buy agriculture; we see this as a personal attack on our farmers,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday on “Squawk Box “from CNBC. “They need our agriculture.… It’s not just about selling them soybeans, but we want to sell them soybeans,” he said.
Chinese importers bought a total of 600,000 tonnes of soybeans from export terminals in the US Pacific Northwest from October through December, Reuters reported Thursday afternoon, citing two traders familiar with the deals.
The two countries agreed to meet in Washington in early October and hold deputy-level discussions ahead of the meeting to lay the groundwork for a possible deal. Some insiders and observers expect this round of negotiations to lead to a breakthrough.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the country’s chief trade negotiator, said Thursday that deputy-level talks next week will focus on issues such as trade balance, market access and investor protection. Chinese state media Xinhua said.
Mnuchin also told CNBC that Trump could strike a trade pact with China at any time, but wants a “good” deal for American workers.