As trade talks resume, China drops antidumping probe of U.S. sorghum

Galtero Lara
May 18, 2018

China's Commerce Ministry said on Friday it was halting its anti-dumping investigation into imports of sorghum from the United States, saying measures it imposed would affect consumers and were not in line with the public interest.

The announcement comes as senior Chinese and U.S. officials are meeting in Washington for a second round of trade talks aimed at averting a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

A decline in China's soymeal prices after China on Friday dropped its anti-dumping probe into imports of US sorghum is expected to stoke further losses at Chinese soy processors, which have been in the red since mid-May due to weak animal feed demand in the world's biggest pork market. Preliminary antidumping tariffs of 178.6 percent on the crop, which is used primarily for animal feed and liquor, took effect on April 18.

The United States accounts for more than 90 percent of total sorghum shipments to China, with imports from the USA worth just over $1 billion previous year.

Separate Chinese tariffs on around $3 billion of US products including fruit, nuts and pork were imposed in March in response to Trump's decision to slap tariffs on iron and steel imports.

The probe had sparked worries that tariff-inflated costs for the grain would be passed onto feedmakers and eventually push retail meat prices higher. However, a final ruling on whether to impose tariffs was to be made after a further investigation, it added. "The next US sorghum crop will be harvested in August", Houe said.

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Agricultural products are considered one of the most powerful weapons in Beijing's arsenal because a strike against farm exports to China would hurt mostly states that backed U.S. President Donald Trump.

The negotiations center on United States complaints about Chinese investment restrictions, theft of American intellectual property and the overproduction of metals.

Earlier on Friday, China announced that it was ending its sorghum investigation, which had effectively halted a trade worth roughly $1.1 billion past year.

"Now they are showing goodwill by halting its anti-dumping investigation into sorghum imports, but it is a cheap way of showing goodwill as the USA doesn't have much sorghum left to export". Trump instructed reporters that he had doubts concerning the potential for an settlement.

"Now they are showing goodwill by halting its anti-dumping investigation into sorghum imports, but it is a cheap way of showing goodwill as the USA does not have much sorghum left to export".

China's chief negotiator, Liu He, a top economic adviser to Mr. Xi, is meeting on Thursday with the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin; the United States trade representative, Robert Lighthizer; Wilbur L. Ross, the commerce secretary; and other officials.

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