The USDA confirmed Thursday morning that China has purchased 1.13 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans, ending months of virtually no purchases since the Chinese government levied a 25 percent tariff on soybeans, corn, wheat, sorghum and other ag commodities.
Those tariffs were in retaliation to U.S. levies in an escalating trade war that seemed to thaw about two weeks ago after the meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires.
"China will be opening up,” Trump said after the Dec. 1 meeting. “China will be getting rid of tariffs. You know, China right now has major trade barriers -- they’re major tariffs -- and also major non-tariff barriers, which are brutal. China will be getting rid of many of them. And China will be buying massive amounts of product from us, including agricultural from our farmers -- tremendous amount of agricultural and other products."
Rumors have been swirling for the past few days about imminent Chinese purchases, involving sales ranging from 500,000 tons to 2 million tons.
So far China has not shown any move to lift tariffs on U.S. ag commodities, but government and industry officials expect the new purchase will not be subject to the import tax. The tariff is not applied, they said, if the purchased soybeans are placed into China’s strategic stockpiles.
China recently has been opening those reserves to help domestic livestock operations cope with being cut off from U.S. supplies.
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