Beijing - Chinese state media said on Sunday the United States has shipped several million tonnes of soybeans to China since the two countries’ leaders met in June, although U.S. government data shows that the volume was much less. The U.S.-China trade war has curbed the export of U.S. crops to China, with soybean sales falling sharply after Beijing slapped tariffs of 25% on American cargoes. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data shows that just 1.02 million tonnes of soybeans were shipped to China for the period starting from the G20 meeting June 28 to the week ended July 18, the most recent date for which data is available. These shipments reflect purchases made earlier this year, and the USDA is expected to release new data this week. But state broadcaster CCTV, citing China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce, said China has made enquiries to U.S. suppliers for the purchase of soybeans, cotton, pork, sorghum and other agricultural products since July 19 - and some sales have been made.
“As long as the American agricultural products are reasonably priced and of good quality, it is expected that there will be new purchases,” the report said. Companies involved in the sales have applied for exclusions to tariffs on agricultural goods with Chinese customs officials, it said. Wuhan-based Jim Huang, chief executive of China-data.com.cn, an independent agriculture consultancy, said on Monday that buying will be carried out by “state firms and other major players, based on the prices and their actual demand. So the process won’t be that quick.” “China is sincere in negotiating with the U.S. and is offering goodwill gestures,” said Huang.
CCTV said the moves show China’s willingness to promote U.S. products and make good on a consensus reached between presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Osaka in June. Chinese and U.S. negotiators are set to meet in Shanghai this week for the first time since the summit, with talks to start on July 30. Earlier this month, the Trump administration said it would exempt a relatively narrow list of 110 Chinese products from tariffs, including medical equipment and key capacitors. The state media report on Sunday said the United States should “take concrete measures to implement its relevant commitments and create favourable conditions for bilateral economic and trade cooperation”. Meanwhile customs data released on Saturday showed China brought in 614,805 tonnes of soybeans from the United States in June, down 2.5% from June 2018 and down 37% from 977,024 tonnes in May. According to Refinitiv ship tracking data, about 30 shipments carrying a total of 1.02 million tonnes of soybeans left the U.S. for China in May, compared to 8 shipments containing a total of 198,641 tonnes of soybeans that departed the U.S. for China in June.
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