USA – Top importers of sorghum from China are set to visit the United States for a training on sorghum production, trade and also build relationships even as trade tension between the two nations intensify.

The training hosted by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in collaboration with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission and the Texas Grain Sorghum Association seeks to deliberate on market and trade opportunities in the sector.

The visit also aims at building relationships between China and US after they slapped each other with 25% tariffs on US$34 billion worth of goods.

A tough trading time is expected for the world’s two largest export nations even as US tariffs on a range of Chinese goods came into effect on 5 July 2018.

While US tariffs targeted “industrially significant technologies” and products related to ‘Made in China 2025’ industrial policy, China imposed 25% tariff affecting the agriproduce including soybeans.

“The Council is pleased to be a part of this important work to maintain communication and strengthen relationships between the U.S. and China,” said Tom Sleight, president and chief executive officer of the USGC.

“Even with a moderate tariff on U.S. sorghum, demand especially in southern China continues.

It’s just another reason to highlight with these top sorghum importers and end-users how the U.S. can be a competitive supplier with this year’s crop.

These importers and feed mill representatives have the opportunity to see the full U.S. sorghum value chain, from crops in the field to elevators and port facilities.

Trips like these encourage increased use and purchase of U.S. sorghum between the two countries while satisfying our mission of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives.”

Trade war was heightened by an anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigation brought by the Chinese government regarding sorghum, but according to the associations, the visit was a step ahead in fostering better relations.

The visit will highlight the entire sorghum value chain for the Chinese buyers in an effort to encourage more U.S. sorghum sales to China.

“This is one of many important opportunities created by the Sorghum Checkoff and U.S. Grains Council to foster and maintain valuable market relationships with end users in China,” said Verity Ulibarri, chairperson of the Sorghum Checkoff.

“This team from China is anxious to meet with U.S. producers and continue learning about our product even with newly implemented tariffs on U.S. sorghum and other goods, and we look forward to providing that hands-on education experience they expect while demonstrating the quality, condition, logistics and price that continue to drive demand for U.S. sorghum in China.”

China is a key market for US sorghum despite ‘tough’ trading policies between them and US sorghum sales to China are estimated to reach US$1 billion since MY2013/14.

On May 18, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced it was dropping its sanctions on U.S. sorghum and that associations representing growers were hopeful trade tensions were lessening.