China halts purchases of U.S. soybeans in tussle over Hong Kong
Conflict over control of Hong Kong has prompted renewed trade tensions between the United States and China, according to published reports.
China’s government was considering legislation to place increased security on Hong Kong. U.S. action to remove special considerations allowed to Hong Kong angered China’s leadership, which ordered state-owned importers to halt purchases of U.S. soybeans, multiple news services reported on June 1. Meanwhile, China has begun buying soybeans from Brazil.
Additional reports indicate China’s purchases of U.S. corn and cotton have also been halted.
Under the Phase 1 trade deal the two countries signed in January, Chinese importers purchased more than $1 billion worth of U.S.-grown soybeans and $691 million worth of U.S. pork in the first quarter of 2020. Under the Phase 1 trade deal, China agreed to import $32 billion in U.S. agricultural products in 2020 and 2021.
Chinese state-owned importers ordered 180,000 tonnes (one tonne is 1,000 kilograms, or 2,240 pounds) of U.S. soybeans after the halt order, a fraction of recent purchases exceeding 1 million tonnes each.