China dismisses Trump agri purchase claim, says honouring pledges

China bought 130,000 tonnes of soybeans between July 19 and August 2 this year.

BEIJING: Beijing is honouring its pledges to buy US agricultural products, state media cited China’s state planning body 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 around US$300 billion of Chinese goods, abruptly ending a truce in the Sino-US trade war.

The US accusations that China did not buy US agricultural products were “groundless,” state broadcaster CCTV on Monday reported an official from China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) as saying.

China bought 130,000 tonnes of soybeans, 120,000 tonnes of sorghum, 60,000 tonnes of wheat, 40,000 tonnes of pork and products, and 25,000 tonnes of cotton from the United States between July 19 and August 2, the official said.

Beijing also purchased 75,000 tonnes of hay, 5,700 tonnes of dairy products, 4,500 tonnes of processed fruits, and 400 tonnes of fresh fruits from the United States 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 United States during the short-lived trade truce.

Honouring agreements

China is also honouring agreements signed earlier to import US soybeans, the official said, noting that 2.27 million tonnes of US soybeans had been loaded and shipped to China in July since Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Osaka at the G20 summit at the end of June.

Two million tonnes of US soybeans destined for China will be loaded in August, followed by another 300,000 tonnes in September.

Chinese state firms COFCO and Sinograin booked around 14 million tonnes of US soybeans following a truce agreed by leaders of the two countries last December.

China has not bought ethanol, corn, soybean oil, wine or beer from the United States, as prices of these products are not competitive, said Cong Liang, secretary-general of China’s NDRC, CCTV reported.

The United States 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 soymeal futures rose as much 3% to a one-month high on Monday on renewed Sino-US trade tensions.