China made a pledge to make another significant soybean purchase at a recent meeting between U.S. and Chinese officials. China’s Vice Premier and lead trade negotiator Liu He made the statement to President Donald Trump that China would be buying five million metric tons of American soybeans. Reuters reported that Chinese state-owned firms have already bought at least one million tons of American soybeans as of February 1.
“The United States appreciates the preparation, diligence, and professionalism shown throughout these meetings by Vice Premier Liu He and his team,” the White House said in a statement. “The two sides showed a helpful willingness to engage on all major issues, and the negotiating sessions featured productive and technical discussions on how to resolve our differences.” The Chinese delegation also issued a statement which indicated that the discussion was a success in making progress on the ongoing trade negotiations between the two countries.
Export figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service indicate “export sales of 612,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery to China during the 2018/2019 marketing year,” as of February 4. China had previously made a significant soybean purchase of more than 1.5 million tons back in December. That first purchase since the trade relationship soured in July 2018 was followed by another purchase of nearly 1.2 million tons shortly after.
China is the largest buyer of the soybeans in the world market and has historically obtained a significant portion of its soybeans from the U.S. In 2017 the U.S. was the number-two supplier of soybeans for China at 36 million tons with a value of about $12 billion.
Negotiations between the two countries are scheduled to continue, as President Trump will be meeting again with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month. Failure to arrive at an agreement before the March 1 deadline will result in another tariff increase from 10 percent to 25 percent on over $200 billion worth of Chinese products.