Tuesday, August 06, 2019

China halts all U.S. ag purchases in latest trade war salvo

China is suspending all purchases of American agricultural products in response to President Trump's announcement of 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods.

Beijing officials said the proposed tariffs are a "serious violation" of the truce reached in June between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. But Trump said that China never fulfilled the promises they made then to buy more ag products, leading him to announce the new tariffs, Kate Rooney reports for CNBC.

Trump said last week the new round of tariffs would take effect Sept. 1 unless negotiators make progress before then, Ryan McCrimmon reports for Politico's "Morning Agriculture."

Progress may be slow coming. COFCO International, China's largest commodity trader, announced plans Monday to invest more heavily in Brazilian soybeans. "Specially, COFCO will buy up 25% more soybeans from Brazil over the next five years while also financing the expansion of more than 60 million acres of soybean production in Brazil," Chris Clayton reports for DTN/The Progressive Farmer. And Xi is dealing with internal pressure to look strong, so he may be less likely to cave on trade war demands from the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reports.

"The worsening trade tension could exacerbate what’s already a down year for ag exporters. USDA released fresh ag-trade data on Monday, and the numbers continue to look bleak, especially for soybean farmers," McCrimmon reports. "Exports of the crop to China totaled just 8.7 million metric tons from October through June, a huge decrease from 25 million metric tons over the same period in fiscal 2018. That represents a difference of $6.5 billion in sales. Overall, ag exports through June totaled $103 billion, compared with nearly $111 billion at the same point last year."

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