China stops US soybean purchases amid trade tensions

CHINA – China has put a stop to purchases of U.S. soybeans amid continued trade tensions between the United States and China, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Citing sources familiar with the trade situation, the news agency noted that state grain buyers have not received orders to continue with the so-called goodwill buying of U.S. soybeans.

To this point, China does not appear ready to cancel previous orders, Bloomberg said.

In February, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said Chinese officials had committed to purchase 10 million tonnes of soybeans from the United States.

At that time, Perdue said the United States’ trade negotiations with China appeared to be working, and he called the commitment to purchases a “show of good faith by the Chinese.”

But trade tensions between the United States and China have escalated in recent months.

U.S. President Donald Trump, charging that China was backtracking on commitments it already had made during the year-long negotiations, on May 10 raised to 25% from 10% the tariff increases authorized last year on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The 25% tariff increase now applies to a total of $250 billion in Chinese goods.

Additionally, Trump said the United States was preparing to extend the 25% tariff hike to the remaining goods imported from China, which were valued at about $325 billion.

A few days later, China retaliated, extending its tariff hikes to another $60 billion worth of U.S. products.

Trump has said he plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit, which is scheduled to take place in Osaka, Japan, June 28-29.

According to USDA’s GAIN report, China’s growing protein meal demand will continue to drive soybean imports.

Given the trade tensions, China is expected to import more from Brazil to meet industrial and agricultural demand.

But this could not exactly be the case, as China is currently grappling with a deadly swine disease outbreak in its hog herd, something that may curb demand for livestock feed.

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