Trump complains China hasn’t met G-20 promise to buy farm goods

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WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (July 11): Donald Trump complained that China hasn’t increased its purchases of American farm products, a promise he said he had secured at a meeting with the country’s president, Xi Jinping, at the Group of 20 summit last month.

Xi and Trump agreed to restart trade talks between their countries at the meeting, and the U.S. president said he would hold off on imposing additional tariffs on Chinese imports. Trump also claimed Xi had agreed that China would buy large amounts of U.S. agricultural goods.

But data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicate that China actually slowed its purchases of American agriculture products, following the G-20 meeting. China bought 127,800 metric tons of U.S. soybeans last week, the equivalent of about two cargoes and a 79% reduction from the previous week. Similarly, China bought just 76 tons of American pork, compared to 10,400 tons in June.

But Chinese official media said only that Trump hoped China would import more American goods as part of the trade-war truce. The two sides didn’t release any official documentation of Trump and Xi’s agreement, leaving confusion about how the countries would proceed.

Mexico is doing great at the Border, but China is letting us down in that they have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would. Hopefully they will start soon! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2019

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke on the phone with their Chinese counterparts this week, marking the first high-level contact following the G-20 meeting.

The American officials spoke to Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Commerce Minister Zhong Shan on Tuesday, according to an emailed statement from a U.S. government official who declined to be identified. Both sides will continue these talks as appropriate, the official said, without offering more details on the next steps.