Amid easing trade war, China plans to buy U.S. farm products as a sign of goodwill

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China is considering buying some U.S. agricultural products as a sign of goodwill as part of the resumption of trade talks between Beijing and Washington, although the volume is likely lower than before, according to people familiar with the situation.

The purchases could include soybeans, corn and pork, according to people, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Total volumes will depend on the progress of trade talks, although they will likely be lower than the amount China pledged to buy in the previous lull, they said.

US President Donald Trump concluded a truce with Chinese President Xi Jinping this weekend on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.

But the plan was not discussed with their American counterparts, the people said, and is not part of the current truce deal. While the potential purchases may bring some comfort to U.S. farmers, the overall cautious tone suggests China is unwilling to promise too much without a deal.

During the last detente in December, China pledged to buy more than 20 million tonnes of US soybeans, pork and corn. After talks broke down in May, China said it would continue buying, although it asked for some shipments to be delayed.

Some Chinese buyers were asking for offers to ship American soybeans out of the Pacific Northwest, said Dan Basse, president of consultant AgResource Co.

An influential Chinese agricultural researcher said this week that Beijing is unlikely to start buying large amounts of American products anytime soon.

Obstacles include tariffs that remain in place, as well as tensions over Huawei Technologies Co., said Li Qiang, chairman and chief analyst of Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. Purchasing more US agricultural products is also unlikely. to change Washington’s strict requirements. for China’s intellectual property concessions.

“I’m not sure it’s helpful for China to buy more than it needs to,” Darin Friedrichs, senior commodities analyst for Asia at INTL FCStone, wrote in an emailed report.

Trump said after the G20 meeting he would indefinitely suspend planned tariffs on an additional $ 300 billion in Chinese imports, while allowing US companies to continue doing business with Huawei, one of the largest companies. from the country.

Still, the White House has yet to reveal the details of Trump’s arrangement with Xi, leaving uncertainty over how the two countries will proceed.

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