Donald Trump accusations don’t amount to a hill of beans, says China
Beijing cites imports of soya beans, pork and sorghum as proof it is honouring pledges to buy US agricultural products
Beijing — Beijing is honouring pledges to buy US agricultural products, state media cited China’s state planning body as saying, dismissing an accusation from US President Donald Trump that it had not met purchasing promises in the sector.
Trump had said on Thursday that Beijing had not fulfilled a promise to buy large volumes of US farm products and vowed to impose new tariffs on $300bn of Chinese goods, abruptly ending a truce in the Sino-US trade war.
The US accusations that China has not been buying US agricultural products are “groundless”, state broadcaster CCTV on Monday reported an official from China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) as saying.
China bought 130,000 tons of soya beans, 120,000 tons of sorghum, 60,000 tons of wheat, 40,000 tons of pork and products, and 25,000 tons of cotton from the US between July 19 and August 2, the official said.
Beijing also purchased 75,000 tons of hay, 5,700 tons of dairy products, 4,500 tons of processed fruits, and 400 tons of fresh fruits from the US during the same period, the official added.
Chinese firms have applied for tariff exemptions on those purchases, the report said.
Beijing offered tariff breaks on US agricultural products to some importers in another goodwill gesture to the US during the short-lived trade truce.
China is also honouring agreements signed earlier to import US soya beans, the official said, noting that 2.27-million tons of US soya beans had been loaded and shipped to China in July, since Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Osaka at the Group of 20 summit at the end of June.
Two-million tons of US soya beans destined for China will be loaded in August, followed by another 300,000 tons in September.
Chinese state firms COFCO and Sinograin booked 14-million tons of US soya beans following a truce agreed by leaders of the two countries last December.
China has not bought ethanol, maize, soya bean oil, wine or beer from the US because prices of these products are not competitive, CCTV reported Cong Liang, the secretary-general of the NDRC, as saying. The US should refrain from making groundless accusations and instead break down barriers while creating conditions for smooth Sino-US agriculture trade, Cong said.
However the figures cited do not show China’s plans for future purchases, particularly in light of Trump’s latest threats. Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported earlier on Monday that China has asked state firms to halt US agriculture imports.
China’s soya meal futures rose as much as 3% to a one-month high on Monday on renewed trade tensions.
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