China’s Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday that Chinese companies have stopped buying US agricultural products, and that China will not rule out imposing import tariffs on US farm products that were bought after August 3.
“Related Chinese companies have suspended purchases of US agricultural products,” the ministry said in an online statement posted shortly after midnight in Beijing on Tuesday.
The statement said China hoped the United States would keep its promises and create the “necessary conditions” for bilateral cooperation.
US President Donald Trump said last Thursday that China 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 the China-US trade truce.
In response to the US accusations, an official with the China’s top economic planning agency said “such accusations are groundless.”
Cong Liang, secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, said from the conclusion of the Osaka meeting to the end of July, a total of 2.27 million tons of US soybeans were newly shipped to China, and another 2 million tons of soybeans are expected to be loaded in August.
Since July 19, Chinese companies have made inquiries about purchasing US soybeans, sorghum, wheat, corn, cotton, dairy products, hay, ethyl alcohol, soybean oil, wine, beer, fresh and processed fruits and other agricultural products.
By the evening of August 2, a number of deals had been concluded, including 130,000 tons of soybeans, 120,000 tons of sorghum, 60,000 tons of wheat and 40,000 tons of pork and pork products, Cong said.
“China and the United States are highly complementary in the agricultural sector and the trade of agricultural products is in line with the mutual interests of both sides,” said Cong.
Cong said the reason that some US products, including ethyl alcohol and corn, failed to clinch a deal in the Chinese market is because their prices are less competitive.
“We hope the United States will do more to clear obstacles and create conditions for China’s purchase of US agricultural products,” said Cong.