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China dismisses Trump agri purchase claim, says honouring pledges

Beijing is honouring its pledges to purchase U.S. agricultural products, state media cited China’s state planning body saying, dismissing an accusation from U.S. President Donald Trump that it had not met a promise to buy large quantities of products.

Trump had said on Thursday that Beijing had not fulfilled a promise to buy large volumes of U.S. farm products and vowed to impose new tariffs on around $300 billion of Chinese goods, abruptly ending a truce in the Sino-U.S. trade war.

The U.S. accusations that China did not buy U.S. agricultural products were “groundless,” state broadcaster CCTV on Monday reported an official from China’s National Development and Reform Commission as saying.

China bought 130,000 tonnes of soybeans, 120,000 tonnes of sorghum, 60,000 tonnes of wheat, 40,000 tonnes of pork and products, and 25,000 tonnes of cotton from the United States between July 19 and Aug. 2, the official said.

Chinese firms have applied for tariff exemptions on those purchases, the report said.

Beijing offered tariff breaks on U.S. agricultural products to some importers in another goodwill gesture to the United States during the short-lived trade truce.

China is also honouring agreements signed earlier to import U.S. soybeans, the official said, noting that 2.27 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans have been loaded and shipped to China in July, since Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Osaka at the G20 summit at the end of June.

Two million tonnes of U.S. soybeans destined for China will be loaded in August, followed by another 300,000 tonnes in September.

Chinese state firms COFCO and Sinograin booked around 14 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans following a truce agreed by leaders of the two countries last December.

However the figures cited do not show China’s plans for future purchases, particularly in light of Trump’s latest threats. Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported earlier on Monday that China has asked state firms to halt U.S. agriculture imports.

China’s soymeal futures rose as much 3% to a one-month high on Monday on renewed Sino-U.S. trade tensions.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Tom Daly; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and David Holmes)

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