The world’s biggest pork consumer bought just over 10,000 tons of U.S. pork sometime between August 2-8. Reuters says that was the biggest purchase of American pork in almost two months.
The pork purchase is due for shipment this year as African Swine Fever continues to ravage the world’s biggest pork herd. The Chinese Commerce Ministry had said on August 5 that Chinese companies stopped buying U.S. farm commodities after yet another escalation in the trade war with America. Reuters says it’s not clear if the pork was bought before or after the August announcement. Analysts say the sales are seen as a sign that China needs meat from the United States to help offset the death loss of millions of pigs.
Steve Meyer is an economist with the commodity firm Kerns and Associates, who says, “It’s a new booking, which is positive.” China’s duty on American pork sits at a whopping 62 percent. President Trump backed off last week on part of his plan for 10 percent tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports starting on September 1. Late last week, China says it would counter the latest U.S. tariffs.
The U.S. and China are trying to “reset” trade discussions after talks broke down back in May. Politico says U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will hold face-to-face conversations with Chinese officials on Tuesday and Wednesday.
There are a lot of important items on the discussion schedule, including agriculture, intellectual property, forced technology transfers, trade deficits, and enforcement. There’s a lot at stake for U.S. farmers as President Trump is still seeking major Chinese agricultural purchases from the U.S. after reaching a short-term truce with Chinese President Xi in late June.
However, Beijing recently approved new wheat and soybean imports from Russia as the two countries are looking to increase their agricultural-trade activities. Also on the trade front, the Japanese Economic Revitalization Minister is scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., on Thursday for trade talks with Lighthizer. The U.S. is looking for a limited trade agreement in the coming weeks aimed primarily at agriculture and automobiles. Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet in late August and late September, which Politico says could be two chances to either sign or shake hands on a mini-deal.