China says ‘making enquiries’ on buying US farm products

Beijing, Sept 12 (AFP/APP):China said Thursday it was “making enquiries” about buying American farm products including big-ticket products like pork and soybeans, ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington next month.

The announcement is the latest in a flurry of goodwill gestures from both sides in a year-long trade-war that has weighed on the global economy.

It comes a day after US President Donald Trump said he would delay a planned hike in tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods until October 15.
Beijing had earlier also announced a list of items that would be exempt from its own planned levies, but which did not include significant imports like pork.

“Chinese companies have started making enquiries on the procurement of US agricultural products,” Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a regular briefing Thursday.

“I hope that the two sides will continue to take practical actions to create favourable conditions for consultations, which will benefit both China and the United States.”

The list of products for which China said it was seeking price quotations included big-ticket items such as pork and soybeans, Gao said.

Trump has previously accused Beijing of backsliding on promises to increase purchases of US farm goods.

American farmers have born the brunt of the US-China trade spat, especially after US soy exports collapsed last year, virtually wiping out foreign markets farmers had spent years cultivating.
Trump has offered billions in aid to farms badly damaged in the trade war.

Reducing America’s soaring trade deficit with China has long been a principal aim in Trump’s trade battle with Beijing, which he also accuses of stealing American technology and unfairly intervening in markets.
Since last year, the two countries have traded tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade.

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