White House: China confirms commitment to buy more U.S. farm goods


Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, center, is seen with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, right, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before holding talks in Shanghai on Wednesday. | Ng Han Guan, Pool/AP Photo

China has confirmed its “commitment to increase purchases of United States agricultural exports,” the White House said Wednesday, one day after President Donald Trump lashed out at Beijing for keeping him waiting on that front.

The statement came at the conclusion of two days of meetings in Shanghai between teams led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. Those discussions were the first since talks broke down in May, after the United States accused China of backtracking on earlier commitments it made earlier.

“The meetings were constructive,” the White House said in a statement. “We expect negotiations on an enforceable trade deal to continue in Washington, D.C., in early September.”

The release, however, did not elaborate on what type of goods would be purchased or any time frame for the agriculture sales. American soybean exports to China have been nearly cut off since the escalation of trade tariffs last year, while U.S. pork exporters are especially eager to see export gains after African swine fever has devastated pig herds in China.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed at the G-20 leaders meeting in late June to restart negotiations, and Trump later told reporters that he expected to China to immediately begin making major purchases of agricultural products. However, on Tuesday he complained loudly on Twitter that China had not followed through, exposing a potential vulnerability as he runs for reelection in 2020.

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