Published: Fri, September 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

China says 'making enquiries' on buying U.S. farm products

China says 'making enquiries' on buying U.S. farm products

USA soybean exports to China, the world's top buyer, have plummeted during the bitter bilateral dispute, with swelling supplies sending prices to near-decade lows and US farmers struggling to turn a profit.

U.S. farmers, a core component of Trump's political base, have been among the hardest hit by the tariff battle that began more than a year ago and has escalated in recent weeks.

The US said on Wednesday it would delay increasing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports from October 1 to October 15. -China trade war as the long-running dispute roils markets and hampers economic growth. But there has been no sign of progress on the main issues in their sprawling conflict over trade and technology.

They include anti-cancer drugs and animal feed. Phone calls to the commerce and finance ministries were not answered on Friday, a national holiday in China.

South Africans need to be forewarned that if the USA continues its trade war with China, our economy will not be spared the traumatic effects of a global recession.

Washington also imposed curbs on sales of US technology to Huawei Technologies Ltd., one of the biggest makers of smartphones and telecom switching equipment.

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan on June 29, 2019. In a Wednesday tweet, Mr. Trump said the delay is "a gesture of good will".

"Chinese enterprises have started to inquire about the price of American farm goods including soybeans and pork", ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a news briefing.

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This is driving prices higher this week because it indicates that he's willing to be proactive in supporting prices. Still, that's considerably below the $80-$85 a barrel that analysts say is needed to balance Saudi Arabia's budget.

Chinese leaders are resisting USA pressure to roll back plans for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics and other industries. The United States, Europe and other trading partners argue those violate China's free-trade commitments.

Negotiations broke down in May over how to enforce any deal.

Both Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have sought to lower tensions in recent weeks as the world's biggest economies see growth slowdown, with the US delaying a planned hike in tariffs until mid-October. Washington wants to keep some in place to ensure Chinese compliance. On the other hand, the Chinese have a long-term horizon, and they may be reluctant to take a deal that could give Trump a victory for his re-election campaign.

After the last round of talks collapsed with resolution at the start of the summer, representatives of China and the U.S. are now preparing to recommence top-level trade negotiations next month, with low-level officials set to begin preparatory meetings next week.

Against that backdrop, both sides are preparing to return to the negotiating table.

China, meanwhile, has been pursuing its own efforts to mitigate the damage of the trade wars.

Mnuchin argued that Trump could reach an agreement with China at any time, despite the fact that the Republican president has been promoting a trade war against Beijing for over a year.

An outbreak of deadly African swine fever, which has cut China's pig herd by a third since mid-2018, has propelled Chinese pork prices to record levels and left the country in need of replacement supplies from overseas.

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