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China looks at new ways to accelerate US farm produce purchases

CHINA is studying how to accelerate purchases of US farm produce to meet its phase-one American trade deal commitments after the coronavirus delayed some imports, according to people familiar with the matter

03 May 2020 - 19:00

CHINA is studying how to accelerate purchases of US farm produce to meet its phase-one American trade deal commitments after the coronavirus delayed some imports, according to people familiar with the matter.

The proposals being considered include potentially buying 10 million tonnes of American soybeans for Chinese state reserves if demand from private buyers isn't enough, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.



A final decision has yet to be made on what actions may be taken, according to the people, reports Bloomberg.



China could also fulfil its annual import quota of corn, which is currently at 7.2 million tonnes, with the grain from America, the people said. It may also consider buying more than the quota, potentially reaching a total of as much as 20 million tonnes in US corn imports, they said. China's Ministry of Commerce didn't respond to an inquiry from Bloomberg News.



The trade deal with Washington that was inked in December had Beijing commit to buying as much as US$50 billion a year in agricultural commodities over two years, a level that some analysts doubted would be feasible.



Though China had taken steps to boost imports, the coronavirus outbreak that led to locking down most of the country had sapped demand as logistics and ports came to a standstill.



Earlier in February, Chinese officials were hoping that the US would agree to some flexibility on pledges, people familiar with the discussions said at the time. Since then, China has gradually started to reopen its economy on hopes the virus is under control, though consumption remains fragile.


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