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China's purchases of US farm goods at 71% of target under trade deal: US

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China has substantially increased purchases of US farm goods and implemented 50 of 57 technical commitments aimed at lowering structural barriers to US imports since the two nations signed a trade deal in January, the US government said on Friday.

[WASHINGTON] China has substantially increased purchases of US farm goods and implemented 50 of 57 technical commitments aimed at lowering structural barriers to US imports since the two nations signed a trade deal in January, the US government said on Friday.

In a joint statement, the US Trade Representative's (USTR) office and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said China had bought over US$23 billion in US agricultural goods to date, or about 71 per cent of the target set under the so-called Phase One deal.

"Since the Agreement entered into force eight months ago, we have seen remarkable improvements in our agricultural trade relationship with China, which will benefit our farmers and ranchers for years to come," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

The deal defused a bitter trade war between the world's two largest economies, but disputes over human rights, the Covid-19 crisis and technology have strained ties between Washington and Beijing, raising doubts about the prospects for deepening the agreement in a second phase.

Agriculture is one of the four areas where China pledged to increase its purchases of US goods and services. Many experts question whether China will meet its overall targets this year given lockdowns imposed earlier this year to contain the virus.

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The report showed outstanding sales of US corn to China were at an all-time high of 8.7 million tonnes, while US soybeans sales for marketing year 2021 to China were at double the levels seen in 2017.

US exports of sorghum to China from January to August 2020 totalled US$617 million, up from US$561 million for the same period in 2017, it said.

US pork exports to China hit an all-time record in just the first five months of 2020, and US beef and beef products exports to China through August 2020 are already more than triple the total for 2017, it said.

In addition to these products, USDA expects 2020 sales to China to hit record or near-record levels for other US agricultural products including pet food, alfalfa hay, pecans, peanuts and prepared foods.

REUTERS

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