China confirms trade agreement with US, more agricultural purchases to come

15 Oct 2019 | Johnny Huang

The Chinese government officially confirmed that a tentative trade deal has been reached between China and the US with additional Chinese purchases of US agricultural products likely occuring later this year.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on Tuesday that the US’ announcement of a partial trade deal between the world’s two largest economies are true.

“What the US said was the real situation, and was consistent with the situation we know,” said Geng Shuang, the spokesperson for the ministry during a press conference.

“The two sides are also unanimous in the issue of reaching an economic and trade agreement. There is no difference,” Geng added.

This was the first time that China has officially responded since US President Donald Trump announced a “substantial phase one deal” shortly following the conclusion of trade talks last Friday.

Meanwhile, the ministry confirmed that Chinese companies have imported large volume of US agricultural products since the beginning of this year and will purchase more, although declined to give details.

The ministry said Chinese companies had already purchased 20 million mt of soybeans, 700,000 mt of pork, 700,000 mt of sorghum, 230,000 mt of wheat as well as 320,000 mt of cotton.

The amount of soybeans bought by China in 2019 so far is similar to the country’s total import of 22.15 million mt from the US in 2018, but remains sharply lower than the 32.85 million mt it imported in 2017.

That contrasts with US pork imports, which at 700,000 mt this year is five times higher than before the trade war started in 2018.

China's total import of pork in the first nine months of 2019 reached 1.33 million mt, up nearly 44% year-on-year.

The total imports in 2018 was only 1.19 million mt.

Regarding wheat imports, China only bought 361,292 mt from US in 2018.