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Since April, China Has “Stepped Up” U.S. Ag Purchases, as Taiwan Eases Limits on U.S. Beef and Pork

September 2, 2020

Reuters writer Karl Plume reported on Thursday that, “China made its largest weekly U.S. beef purchases on record last week, followed by its biggest U.S. corn deals in almost a month this week, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data released on Thursday.

“The USDA, in its weekly export sales report, said China bought a net 3,315 tonnes of U.S. beef in the week ended Aug. 20, the largest weekly buy in records dating back to 1999. China also bought 11,216 tonnes of U.S. pork last week, the most in a month.

“China has been aggressively importing beef, pork and poultry this year after a years-long battle with African swine fever, a deadly hog disease that has decimated the country’s pork sector.”

The Reuters article stated that, “In a separate report on Thursday, the USDA said China bought 747,000 tonnes of U.S. corn for shipment in the 2020/21 season that begins Sept. 1. The agency also said 140,000 tonnes were sold to undisclosed destinations.

The deals come amid a recent string of sales to China, which vowed to make record U.S. agricultural purchases this year as part of its Phase 1 trade deal signed with the United States in January.”

And Bloomberg News reported last week that, “China increased its purchases of U.S. goods in recent months, and with signs that soybean purchases may also rise as the election nears, that may be enough to salvage the trade deal even if it won’t reach what it promised.”

The Bloomberg article noted that, “However, falling short of the top-line number might not be seen as a deal-breaker. China is set to purchase a record amount of soybeans this year, according to people familiar with the matter, and is already placing large orders for soybeans and corn.”

A separate Bloomberg News article on Monday reported that,

China has stepped up purchases of U.S. farm goods since the end of April, with soybean sales for delivery next season currently running at their highest level for this time of year since 2013.

Also last week, Bloomberg writers Michael Hirtzer and Isis Almeida reported that, “A U.S. wheat variety yielded ‘stellar’ flour for noodles and pizza dough at a test bakery in China, spurring the biggest export spot sales to the Asian nation in years.

“Cofco, China’s biggest food company, bought 672,000 metric tons of hard red winter wheat from the U.S. following the accord this year between Washington and Beijing on boosting agriculture trade, Arlington, Virginia-based U.S. Wheat Associates said Friday in a statement.”

“U.S. Wheat Passes Test, and Exports to China Jump in Trade Boost,” by Michael Hirtzer and Isis Almeida. Bloomberg News (August 28, 2020).

Meanwhile, in other agricultural trade developments, Wall Street Journal writer Chun Han Wong reported last week that, “Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said she would ease restrictions on imports of U.S. beef and pork, clearing the biggest obstacle to free-trade talks with Washington.

“At a televised news briefing Friday, Ms. Tsai said she had instructed her government to ease regulations to allow imports of American pork containing trace amounts of an animal-feed additive used by some U.S. farms, as well as U.S. beef products from cattle age 30 months and older.”

The Journal article added that, “U.S. officials have long regarded these restrictions as the main barrier to closer trade links with Taiwan, which had resisted calls to ease such curbs citing concerns over food safety and opposition from the island’s own pig-farming industry. Ms. Tsai said her decision would be implemented in a way that addresses both issues.”

Source: Keith Good, Farm Policy News