China’s purchases of US corn slow significantly
China’s purchases of US corn have slowed significantly due to worries the grain might be drawn into the trade spat between the world’s two largest economies, and as Chinese customs keeps the brakes on clearances for cargoes, four traders told Reuters.
Chinese buyers have canceled multiple cargoes of corn so far this year, the latest product roiled by the China-U.S. trade tensions, traders and industry sources said.
Now some traders say they have halted buying from the United States completely despite signs some of the trade tensions may be starting to ease. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He met officials this week in Washington for talks aimed at resolving the tensions, and Beijing announced on Friday it was dropping its probe into U.S. sorghum imports.
The waning appetite from one of the world’s top consumers of corn will unnerve U.S. farmers, who have been hit hard by the prolonged trade spat between Washington and Beijing.
Some Chinese corn buyers switched to rival supplier Ukraine earlier this year, as Beijing tightened controls on processing genetically modified strains of the crop. Corn from the United States is mostly genetically modified.
“I have washed out more than 20,000 tonnes of U.S. corn in the recent couple of months because getting a GMO processing certificate has still been impossible, and the situation is very unclear with the ongoing Sino-U.S. trade war,” said a trader based in southern China.
The Ministry of Agriculture, the General Administration of Customs, and the Ministry of Commerce did not respond to requests for comment.
U.S. pork, apples, logs and Ford Motor Co vehicles are still being held up at Chinese ports as customs increased scrutiny of goods shipped from China’s top trading partner.