May 24, 2018

China drops anti-dumping probe of USA sorghum imports

18 May 2018, 05:32 | Cesar Cruz

China To End Anti-Dumping Probe Into US Sorghum Amid Trade Talks

China Plans to Offer Major Trade Concessions, but Skepticism Abounds

China has said it will end an anti-dumping probe into U.S. sorghum imports, as USA and Chinese officials resumed trade talks in Washington.

China first launched the probe into state support for USA sorghum producers in February, and made a preliminary ruling against American imports on April 18.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said Friday the investigation, which started in January, found that imposing anti-dumping duties on U.S. sorghum would increase living costs for Chinese consumers.

In a readout of the latest round of trade negotiations, the White House said the USA officials conveyed the President's clear goal for a fair-trading relationship with China.

The probe had also sparked fears among American farmers that they would lose their largest export market for the crop.

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.

China announced last month that it was slapping provisional anti-dumping duties on United States sorghum imports, ordering importers to pay Chinese customs a deposit amounting to 178.6 percent of the value of sorghum brought in.

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It said it had received many reports that the investigation would result in higher costs for the livestock industry, adding that many domestic pig farmers were facing hardship because of declining pork prices. "The next US sorghum crop will be harvested in August", Houe said.

"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 US doesn't have much sorghum left to export".

China denied on Friday that it had offered a package to slash the USA trade deficit by up to $200 billion. The news brought some unexpected relief to Chinese buyers who still had cargoes stuck at ports.

The Chinese promises would be largely illusory, economists cautioned, given the structural hurdles in China to buying more American exports and the sheer amount of goods the United States would have to produce to meet Beijing's demand, the daily reported.

The announcement on sorghum imports came from the Commerce Ministry in Beijing on Friday morning, and was not explicitly linked to the trade talks. But Trump has expressed doubt they would be successful.

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. "We just can't do that anymore", he said.

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