China, in retaliation for new U.S. tariffs, revoked its latest goodwill gesture of exempting some Chinese importers from its own tariffs on U.S. soybeans, but at least one U.S. shipment will get through unscathed, according to U.S. government and industry officials.
Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, assistant U.S. Trade Representative for agricultural aﬀairs and commodity policy, said Tuesday at the Sweetener Symposium in Asheville, N.C., that the Chinese have clarified that “any sales occurring after Aug. 3 will no longer be exempt from those retaliatory tariffs. Now, we'll have to wait and see what that means."
That’s the first sign of retaliation from the Chinese since President Donald Trump announced last week that he plans to hit roughly $300 billion worth of Chinese with a 10% tariff on Sept. 1.
China, in preparation for bilateral trade talks in Shanghai last week, agreed to tariff exemptions for four private companies and at least one state-owned firm to buy U.S. soybeans. They were expected to import between 2 and 3 million tons before China retracted the exemptions this week, according to John Baize, president of John C. Baize and Associates and a consultant for the U.S. Soybean Export Council.
At least one Chinese buyer — the crushing company Yihai Kerry, a subsidiary of Wilmar International — sealed a purchase deal for 68,000 metric tons before the new Aug. 3 deadline, Baize told Agri-Pulse. The purchase is for 2019-20 marketing year soybeans, he said.
The latest tit-for-tat in the China trade war is roiling financial markets and worrying the U.S. ag sector that the U.S. and China are getting further away from a resolution, but Larry Kudlow, Trump’s national economic adviser, said Tuesday there is still a chance for the U.S. and China to make progress.
“The door is still open for additional negotiations,” Kudlow told reporters at the White House. “We are planning for the Chinese team to come here in September … That could lead to good things.”
Ed Maixner contributed to this report.
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