China to boost state reserves with US crops amid pandemic

A man operates a combine harvester to harvest soybeans in Illinois. (File photo)

BEIJING: China is preparing to buy more than 30 million tonnes of crops for state stockpiles to help protect itself from supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic and make good on pledges to buy more US crops, three sources told Reuters.

China plans to add about 10 million tonnes of soybeans, 20 million tonnes of corn, and 1 million tonnes of cotton to its state reserves, said two of the sources who were briefed on the government plan.

The bulk of the crops would be imports, and mainly from the United States, as China works to fulfil its commitment under the Phase 1 trade deal signed in January, the sources said.

“The main message from (Beijing) is to secure people’s livelihood. It is a good time to build up reserves, especially when prices of the goods are at quite low levels,” said one of the sources.