Doubts arise about Trump's claim of China's promise to buy more agricultural products


A farmer verifies that his equipment is dropping the seeds to the appropriate depth while planting a cornfield outside Henry, Illinois.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The "substantial" deal of the United States and China already seems confused, especially with regard to China's promise to increase its purchase of agricultural products, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Uncertainty reigns over China's commitment to buy more agricultural products from US reports that the details are missing over time and in the amount of promised purchases.

During last week's trade talks, President Donald Trump said China had agreed to buy 40 to 50 billion dollars of US agricultural products "in less than two years". However, it is not clear what the United States may have to grant in exchange for this aspect of the agreement and whether the tariffs planned for December could be used as leverage.

The United States plans to impose a new 15% duty on over 150 billion dollars of goods on December 15th.

Chinese negotiators have stated that China will only buy US agricultural products based on demand and market prices. Moreover, according to reports, 50 billion dollars are good compared to the historical average that China has spent on these purchases.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed this noncore concession and stated that Trump's announcement was "consistent" with the understanding of the Chinese agreement, but the details are still missing. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate financial committee, R-Iowa, told Radio Iowa Tuesday station that China and the United States should not make a "trust" agreement on their own. He said he needed more details on the parameters of the agreement because China did not confirm the figures promoted by Trump.

Trump used the purchase of US agricultural products as a non-core pawn in the long trade war of over a year as farmers are an important voting base for Trump.

Uncertainty also persists regarding US involvement in the Hong Kong protests.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives signed a bill requiring various government departments to assess whether recent political developments in Hong Kong require the US to change the region's special trading status, which would affect exports from the mainland traveling through Hong Kong.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that China would adopt counter-measures against the United States in response to the bill.

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