China imports from US plunge

Daniel Fowler
July 13, 2019

China also directed importers to find non-U.S. suppliers.

China has started preparing to buy farm products, including gauging the prices of USA soybeans, but will not purchase large amounts until it sees concrete progress in the negotiations, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

June marked the first full month of higher US tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, which Washington announced weeks earlier after trade talks between the world's largest economies broke down.

Xi Jinping's top trade negotiator spoke with his US counterparts on Tuesday (July 9), in the first talks since the G20 summit truce agreed with US President Donald Trump.

Mr Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-owned Global Times newspaper tweeted late Thursday that the "achievement of Osaka summit is a China-US consensus, not a unilateral commitment China made to the US".

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"Mexico is doing great at the Border, but China is letting us down in that they have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would", Mr Trump said on Thursday on Twitter. And despite the hardball tactics from the Trump administration, China's trade surplus with the USA remains heavily lopsided in its favour. Both sides will continue these talks as appropriate, the official said, without offering more details on the next steps.

Last week, an influential Chinese agricultural researcher said it's unlikely Beijing will start purchasing large amounts of USA products anytime soon.

China's global exports sank 1.3% to $212.8 billion while imports fell 7.3% to $161.9 billion. Mistrust between Washington and Beijing runs high.

China's slowing economy gives President Xi Jinping little room to fight back forcefully against the United States - which is using tariffs as leverage to try to force Beijing into opening up its economy.

China bought 127,800 metric tons of U.S. soybeans last week, the equivalent of about two cargoes and a 79 per cent reduction from the previous week. Altogether the two giants have slapped each other with punitive tariffs covering more than $360 billion in two-way trade, damaging manufacturers on both sides of the Pacific.

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