China, the world’s largest soybean buyer, has put purchases of American supplies on hold after the trade war between Washington and Beijing escalated.
President Donald Trump escalated his trade war with China earlier this month, ramping up tariffs on about $ 200 billion of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to retaliate with further duties of its own. Trump and his counterpart Xi Jinping are expected to meet again at the end of June for the G-20 summit, when some analysts predict a potential resolution.
Government data indicates China bought about 13 million metric tons of American soybeans after the countries agreed to a truce in December, in a move that showed goodwill toward getting the trade dispute resolved. While US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in February that China had pledged to buy an additional 10 million tons of American soy, purchases have now stopped.
The South China Morning Post reports that Han Jun, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs said that “if the US doesn’t lift all additional tariffs [levied on Chinese products], bilateral agricultural product trade between China and the US, including soybean trade, will never go back to normal. If the US loses China’s market, it will be very difficult for the US to regain it.”