A soya bean farmer in Missouri, the US. Picture: REUTERS
A soya bean farmer in Missouri, the US. Picture: REUTERS

Beijing — A ship carrying soya beans from the US docked in the port of Dalian on Saturday, more than a month after it arrived off China’s coast just as hefty tariffs were imposed on US goods.

The short journey into the northern Chinese port was the first by Peak Pegasus, which has 70,000 tons of US soya beans on board, since it arrived off the coast on July 6 shortly after Beijing imposed 25% import duties on $34bn worth of US goods, including soya beans.

The penalties were in response to a similar move by Washington as part of a tit-for-tat trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

The move into the dock suggests the cargo may be about to be unloaded, becoming one of the first US soya bean shipments to incur the new penalties as the trade dispute deepens. China’s state grain stockpiler Sinograin is the buyer of the shipment, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The final stages of Peak Pegasus’s one-month journey to Dalian captured public attention in China as it became uncertain if it would arrive in time before the duties kicked in.

In July, Chinese state media deployed the legume in a political cartoon aimed at undermining support for the trade dispute among US farmers, key supporters of US President Donald Trump. Soya beans, used in cooking oil and animal feed, are the top US agricultural export to China, with the trade worth $12.7bn in 2017.

The White House has said it will start collecting tariffs on another $16bn worth of Chinese imports from August 23, as it tries to put pressure on China to negotiate trade concessions. Beijing has said it will retaliate in kind.