China not buying more US farm goods, says Trump

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump has complained that China has not increased its purchases of American farm products, a promise he said he had secured at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit last month.

Both leaders agreed to restart trade talks between their countries at the meeting, and Mr Trump said he would hold off on imposing additional tariffs on Chinese imports. Mr Trump also claimed Mr Xi had agreed that China would buy large amounts of US agricultural goods.

But data released on Thursday by the US Department of Agriculture indicates that China slowed its purchases of American agriculture products following the G-20 meeting.

China bought 127,800 tonnes of US soya beans last week, the equivalent of about two cargoes, and a 79 per cent reduction from the week before. Similarly, China bought just 76 tonnes of American pork, compared with 10,400 tonnes in June.

"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 tweeted on Thursday. "Hopefully they will start soon!"

Earlier on Thursday, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said agricultural trade is "an important issue that the two sides need to talk about", but did not confirm whether China had agreed to buy American agricultural products as part of the deal reached in Osaka.

In the read-out of the Xi-Trump meeting published by the state-run Xinhua news agency, it mentioned only that Mr Trump said he hoped China could increase imports from the US, and did not say how Mr Xi or the Chinese team responded.

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


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2019, with the headline 'China not buying more US farm goods, says Trump'. Print Edition | Subscribe