U.S. trade groups urge China to increase purchases of U.S. goods, services

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and over 40 trade associations on Monday urged top U.S. and Chinese officials to redouble efforts to implement a Phase 1 trade agreement signed by the world’s two largest economies in January despite pandemic-related strains.

In a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the group said they were encouraged by the progress so far, but called for a significant increase in China’s purchases of U.S. goods and services.

The groups said combating the novel coronavirus pandemic and restoring global growth depended in part on successful implementation of the U.S.-China trade deal, which helped defuse a nearly 18-month trade war marked by tit-for-tat tariffs.

U.S.-China tensions have escalated in recent months over the origins of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as China’s passage of a new national security law that critics say will limit Hong Kong’s autonomy.

U.S. President Donald Trump had said that “decoupling” the two economies remains an option, and his trade adviser Peter Navarro jolted markets last month when he said the U.S.-China trade agreement was “over,” although he quickly backtracked.

Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Monday the U.S. president was considering several executive orders targeting China and manufacturing, but gave no details.

The chamber and other U.S. industry groups urged both sides to accelerate implementation of the trade agreement, arguing that it would help both countries while paving the way for Phase 2 talks on other key issues such as subsidies, cyber security and digital trade.

“Amid increasing bilateral tensions across the relationship, working together to improve trade and grow commerce can provide important benefits to both economies and help to improve relations,” they wrote in the letter.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Franklin Paul and Richard Chang)

China keen to seek benefits from pandemic, distressed U.S. assets: report

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers and policymakers should be wary of China’s moves to target vulnerable U.S. assets and expand its market share in the wake of the global economic crisis triggered by the novel coronavirus, according to a study prepared for a U.S. trade group and released on Tuesday.

The Horizon Advisory report for the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) said the Chinese Communist Party viewed the crisis as “a chance to expand its position in U.S. markets, supply chains and critical infrastructure.”

The consultancy said Beijing used the 2008-2009 global financial crisis to accelerate its “Go Out” industrial offensive in the United States, and was positioning to benefit from a likely spike in U.S. infrastructure spending.

“It’s a very sophisticated strategy,” AAM President Scott Paul said in an interview. “There’s a very legitimate debate that needs to occur about the appropriate role of Beijing in the U.S. economy, and there are reasons to be wary of including Chinese state-owned enterprises in our recovery effort.”

Paul said his lobby group was working with Democratic and Republican lawmakers to strengthen and expand provisions that earmark government funds for U.S. companies, and ensure they do not wind up in the hands of Chinese state-owned firms or investors.

The group was formed in 2007 by U.S. companies and the United Steelworkers to push for policies to expand U.S. manufacturing.

U.S. President Donald Trump has long pledged to bring manufacturing back from overseas, but the coronavirus pandemic has sparked a government-wide push to move U.S. production and supply chain dependency away from China.

Paul said the report showed China had identified “friendly” public officials and states including Kentucky, home of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which has attracted increased Chinese investment in recent years.

Chinese acquisitions have come under greater U.S. scrutiny to determine their effect on national security, but takeovers could increase if the crisis left many distressed assets, as expected, he said.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Richard Chang)

As U.S. meat workers fall sick and supplies dwindle, exports to China soar

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump ordered meat processing plants to stay open to protect the nation’s food supply even as workers got sick and died. Yet the plants have increasingly been exporting to China while U.S. consumers face shortages, a Reuters analysis of government data showed.

Trump, who is in an acrimonious public dispute with Beijing over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act on April 28 to keep plants open. Now he is facing criticism from some lawmakers, consumers and plant employees for putting workers at risk in part to help ensure China’s meat supply.

“We know that over time exports are critically important. I think we need to focus on meeting domestic demand at this point,” said Mike Naig, the agriculture secretary in the top U.S. pork-producing state of Iowa who supported Trump’s order.

Processors including Smithfield Foods, owned by China’s WH Group Ltd, Brazilian-owned JBS USA [JBS.UL] and Tyson Foods Inc temporarily closed about 20 U.S. meat plants as the virus infected thousands of employees, prompting meatpackers and grocers to warn of shortages. Some plants have resumed limited operations as workers afraid of getting sick stay home.

The disruptions mean consumers could see 30% less meat in supermarkets by the end of May, at prices 20% higher than last year, according to Will Sawyer, lead economist at agricultural lender CoBank.

While pork supplies tightened as the number of pigs slaughtered each day plunged by about 40% since mid-March, shipments of American pork to China more than quadrupled over the same period, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. https://tmsnrt.rs/2YLF1XN

Smithfield, which China’s WH Group bought for $4.7 billion in 2013, was the biggest U.S. exporter to China from January to March, according to Panjiva, a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence. Smithfield shipped at least 13,680 tonnes by sea in March, Panjiva said, citing its most recent data.

Smithfield, the world’s biggest pork processor, said in April that U.S. plant closures were pushing retailers “perilously close to the edge” on supplies.

The company is now retooling its namesake pork plant in Smithfield, Virginia, to supply fresh pork, bacon and ham to more U.S. consumers, according to a statement. The move is an about-face after the company reconfigured the plant last year to process hog carcasses for the Chinese market, employees, local officials and industry sources told Reuters.

The Virginia facility currently serves export markets like China and domestic customers, according to Smithfield. Most U.S. pork processors routinely export products to more than 40 international markets, company spokeswoman Keira Lombardo said.

The virus infected about 850 employees at another Smithfield pork plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Across the U.S. industry, about 5,000 infections and 20 deaths occurred, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“That tragic outcome is all the worse when the food being processed is not going to our nation’s families,” said U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut. “That is what the Defense Production Act is all about: protecting America’s national interests, not China’s.”

Pork processor Fresh Mark resumed making bacon and ham for global customers at a Salem, Ohio, plant it shut in April over coronavirus cases.

“If we start having a shortage in America, I think it should stay here,” said Bruce Fatherly, a maintenance worker at the plant and member of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Fresh Mark said exports are a small part of its business.

WHOLE HOGS

The supply concerns could not have been foreseen when Trump signed a deal in January to ease a trade war he started with Beijing two years earlier. China promised to increase purchases of U.S. farm goods by at least $12.5 billion in 2020 and $19.5 billion in 2021, over the 2017 level of $24 billion.

The White House declined to comment. The USDA and U.S. Trade Representative’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

China increased its purchases because of its dire need for protein after a pig disease called African swine fever led to the death of half the country’s herd over the past two years. Beijing lifted a nearly five-year ban on U.S. chicken imports in November and also waived retaliatory tariffs on meat shipments to help boost supplies.

Year-to-date, about 31% of U.S. pork has been exported, totaling about 838,000 tonnes, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. One-third of that volume went to China, accounting for more than 10% of total first-quarter production, the industry group said.

Carcasses, which include most of the pig, were the top product shipped to China in January and February, according to USDA. Loads also include feet and organs that many Americans do not eat.

Exports to China set a record for the period from January to March, and shipments to all destinations in March set a record for any month, according to USDA.

JBS, which produces pork, beef and chicken, told Reuters it reduced exports to focus on meeting U.S. demand during the pandemic. About 280 employees at a JBS beef plant in Greeley, Colorado, have been infected with the virus, and seven died, union officials said.

“I think we need to take care of our country and our needs first,” said Kim Cordova, president of the local United Food and Commercial Workers International Union that represents plant employees.

Tyson Foods did not respond to requests for comment about exports.

Suppliers like Tyson have limited meat products for retailers because of plant closures. Kroger Co and Costco Wholesale Corp, meanwhile, restricted shoppers’ meat purchases.

U.S. farmers, who struggled financially during the trade war with Beijing, say they still need importing countries, including China, to buy their pork. Prior to the pandemic, they grappled with an oversupply of hogs.

“There’s enough meat for all channels if we could get these plants back up and rolling,” said Brian Duncan, a hog farmer and vice president of the Illinois Farm Bureau.

(Additional reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago and Dominique Patton in Beijing; editing by Caroline Stauffer and Edward Tobin)

U.S. imposes new rules on exports to China to keep them from its military

By Karen Freifeld

(Reuters) – The United States said on Monday it will impose new restrictions on exports to China to keep semiconductor production equipment and other technology away from Beijing’s military.

The new rules will require licenses for U.S. companies to sell certain items to companies in China that support the military, even if the products are for civilian use. They also do away with a civilian exception that allows certain U.S. technology to be exported without a license, if the use is not connected to the military.

The rules, which were posted for public inspection and will be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, could hurt the semiconductor industry and sales of civil aviation equipment to China, if the U.S. presumes they are for military applications.

The changes, which include requiring licenses for more items, also expand the rules for Russia and Venezuela, but the biggest impact will be on trade with China.

“It is important to consider the ramifications of doing business with countries that have histories of diverting goods purchased from U.S. companies for military applications,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

Washington trade lawyer Kevin Wolf said the rule changes for China are in response to its policy of military-civil fusion: finding military applications for civilian items.

He said the regulatory definitions of military use and user are broad and go beyond purchases by entities such as the People’s Liberation Army.

For example, Wolf said, if a car company in China repairs a military vehicle, that car company may now be a military end user, even if the item being exported is for another part of the business.

“A military end user is not limited to military organizations,” Wolf said. “A military end user is also a civilian company whose actions are intended to support the operation of a military item.”

Another rule change involves eliminating civilian license exceptions for Chinese importers and Chinese nationals for certain integrated circuits. Other telecommunications equipment, radar and high-end computers will be caught as well.

The administration also posted a third proposed rule change that would force foreign companies shipping certain American goods to China to seek approval not only from their own governments but from the United States as well.

The actions come as relations between the United States and China have deteriorated amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jonathan Oatis and Dan Grebler)

Coronavirus poses risks to fragile recovery in global economy: IMF

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The coronavirus epidemic has already disrupted economic growth in China and a further spread to other countries could derail a “highly fragile” projected recovery in the global economy in 2020, the International Monetary Fund warned on Wednesday.

In a note prepared for G20 finance ministers and central bankers, the global lender mapped out a plethora of risks facing the global economy, including the fast-spreading coronavirus and a renewed spike in U.S.-China trade tensions, as well as climate-related natural disasters.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the top 20 advanced industrialized economies will gather in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, later this week amid continued uncertainty about the impact of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

The IMF said it was sticking to its January forecast for 3.3% growth in the global economy this year, up from 2.9% in 2019, already a downward revision of 0.1 percentage points from its forecast in October.

But it said the recovery would be shallow and risks remained skewed to the downside. “The recovery could be derailed by a sharp rise in risk premia, triggered for example by a re-escalation of trade tensions, or a further spread of the coronavirus,” the Fund said.

Chinese state television quoted President Xi Jinping as saying China could still meet its economic growth target for 2020 despite the epidemic. But the IMF note cast doubt on that.

“The coronavirus, a human tragedy, is disrupting economic activity in China as production has been halted and mobility around affected regions limited,” the Fund wrote in the note. “Spillovers to other countries are likely — for example through tourism, supply chain linkages, and commodity price effects.

It said the impact of the virus was still unfolding, and while the current scenario assumed a quick containment of the virus and a bounce-back later in the year, the impact of the epidemic could be larger and longer-lasting.

“A wider and more protracted outbreak or lingering uncertainty about contagion could intensify supply chain disruptions and depress confidence more persistently, making the global impact more severe,” the Fund said in the note.

Cyber attacks, an escalation of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East or a breakdown in trade negotiations between China and the United States could also impede the short-term global recovery, it said. And climate-related disasters, rising protectionism and social and political unrest triggered by persistent inequality posed further economic risks.

The Fund urged policymakers to maintain fiscal and monetary policy support. Low inflation required monetary policy to stay accommodative in most economies, it said.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Tom Brown)

China approves imports of live poultry from U.S.

By Dominique Patton

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has approved the import of all poultry products from the United States, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on its website on Monday, including breeding birds in addition to poultry meat approved late last year.

Beijing had banned all trade in poultry products from the United States since 2015 due to outbreaks of avian influenza there.

But it lifted the ban on poultry meat imports in November 2019 as a concession to the United States ahead of finalizing a limited trade deal.

The new announcement would also allow for the import of live birds, said Li Jinghui of the China Poultry Association, benefiting companies including Aviagen and Cobb-Vantress Inc, both based in the United States and among the world’s biggest poultry breeding companies.

Nobody at the China offices of Aviagen or Cobb could immediately be reached by phone.

Imports of live poultry from the U.S. were worth $38.7 million in 2013, dwarfed by other poultry products such as chicken feet.

However, the U.S. ban had a significant impact on China’s poultry producers, who needed the breeders to replenish their stock.

Opening up imports of live birds again is part of the trade deal, said Li, although he added that it may not have a major impact.

Both Aviagen and Cobb have increased production of their birds, known as ‘grandparent stock’, in other locations such as New Zealand to meet demand from China.

Two of China’s leading poultry firms, Shandong Yisheng Livestock and Poultry Breeding Co Ltd and Fujian Sunner Development Co Ltd., have also begun their own breeding programs to reduce their reliance on imports.

China is the world’s second-largest poultry producer and has been ramping up output to fill a huge meat shortage after a disease epidemic decimated its pig herd.

But prices have plunged in recent weeks because of measures taken by Beijing to tackle a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 1,700 people.

Restrictions on moving livestock and extended holidays in many areas have paralyzed the supply chain, leaving farmers stuck with large inventories of birds and eggs and slashing demand as restaurants and canteens stay shut.

Containers of frozen chicken feet from the U.S. have also been caught up in the logistics logjam, with many diverted away from China because of a lack of capacity to store additional cargoes.

(Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Kim Coghill and Christian Schmollinger)

 

Fed says risks to economy easing, but calls out coronavirus in report to Congress

By Howard Schneider and Lindsay Dunsmuir

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A “moderately” expanding U.S. economy was slowed last year by a manufacturing slump and weak global growth, but key risks have receded and the likelihood of recession has declined, the U.S. Federal Reserve reported in its latest monetary policy report to the U.S. Congress.

“Downside risks to the U.S. outlook seem to have receded in the latter part of the year, as the conflicts over trade policy diminished somewhat, economic growth abroad showed signs of stabilizing, and financial conditions eased,” the Fed said, noting that the U.S. job market and consumer spending remained strong.

“The likelihood of a recession occurring over the next year has fallen noticeably in recent months.”

Among the risks the Fed did note: the fallout from the spreading outbreak of coronavirus in China, “elevated” asset values, and near-record levels of low-grade corporate debt that the Fed fears could become a problem in an economic downturn.

Overall, however, the Fed saw risks to a more than decade long U.S. recovery easing following its three interest rate cuts in 2019, and evidence that “the global slowdown in manufacturing and trade appears to be at an end, and consumer spending and services activity around the world continue to hold up.”

It cautioned that “the recent emergence of the coronavirus, however, could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy.”

By law the Fed twice a year prepares a formal report for the U.S. Congress on the state of the economy and monetary policy.

Much of its amounts to a review of recent events. The new document repeats the Fed’s assessment that the current level of the federal funds rate, in a range of between 1.5% and 1.75% was “appropriate” to keep the recovery track.

It also reviewed the spike in the federal funds rate last fall and the steps the Fed has taken to relieve funding pressures, repeating it considers the measures technical and not a change in monetary policy.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will present the report at two public hearings next week, and some Democratic U.S. senators have already posed in writing a series of questions challenging the Fed’s actions in those short-term funding markets.

The document did include a separate section analyzing how a slump in manufacturing last year impacted economic growth overall, after concern a downturn in that sector might pull the United States into a recession.

The Fed concluded that the slowdown in factory output, which also meant less business for parts and services suppliers, cut overall growth in gross domestic product between 0.2 and 0.5 percentage points.

That falls “well short” of the threshold associated with past recessions, the Fed said.

(Reporting by Howard Schneider and Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

U.S. Senate panel advances North American trade deal, final vote timing uncertain

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly approved the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Tuesday, moving the revamped North American trade deal a step closer to a final Senate vote in the coming days or weeks.

The committee advanced the USMCA implementing legislation by a 25-3 vote, drawing opposition from Republican senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

The timing of a long-delayed final U.S. congressional vote to approve the trade pact remains uncertain, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said its consideration would likely have to wait until after a Senate trial over the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

The trade deal, first agreed in October 2018 and revised last month, aims to modernize and broaden the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Trump’s Senate trial is also in limbo, because House Democrats have not yet sent articles of impeachment approved in December to the Senate as the two parties argue over terms of the proceedings.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley earlier told CNBC http://bit.ly/36vNLSN television USMCA would “pass the Senate sometime within the next few days or at the most the end of this month.”

Following the Senate panel’s vote, Grassley said the timing was up to McConnell, but articles of impeachment would take precedence over USMCA. A vote could occur quickly as there was little other legislation to stand in its way, he added.

The Senate’s parliamentarian has directed other some other committees to consider the legislation, which could delay a floor vote slightly, but Grassley said those panels were expected to quickly approve the trade deal.

“The intent is for the leader to get them to move quickly,” Grassley added.

The finance committee’s vote indicates broad bipartisan support for USMCA, which includes new chapters covering digital trade, stronger intellectual property protections and new requirements for automakers to use more parts and materials sourced in the region and from high-wage areas, notably the United States and Canada.

Toomey, an ardent free trade Republican, objected to the new automotive content rules, saying they were “designed to raise the cost to American consumers of buying Mexican-made cars.”

“It’s the first time we are ever going to go backwards on a trade agreement,” Toomey said during the committee’s debate.

Cassidy complained that the agreement weakens NAFTA’s investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, which will deter big projects such as a gas pipeline from the United States to Mexico.

Whitehouse, an ardent environmentalist, said he objected to USMCA because the trade deal does not mandate any action to fight global warming and rising sea levels.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Tom Brown)

Take Five: What’s the deal?

LONDON (Reuters) –

1/AFTER PHASE ONE COMES PHASE TWO

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese officials have agreed to a “phase one” trade deal that includes cutting U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

Washington has agreed to suspend tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese goods due to go into effect on Dec. 15, Trump said, and cut existing tariffs to 7.5%.

The agreement covers intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, currency, and foreign exchange, according to Washington’s Trade Representative.

Neither side offered specific details on the amount of U.S. agricultural goods Beijing had agreed to buy – a key sticking point of the lengthy deal negotiations. News of the trade deal saw U.S. stocks romp to fresh record levels. But few doubt that the rollercoaster is over yet.

While Trump announced that “phase two” trade talks would start immediately, Beijing made it clear that moving to the next stage of the trade negotiations would depend on implementing phase one first. While markets cheered the December rally, few expect the trade deal rollercoaster ride to be quite over yet.

 

2/MORE NICE SURPRISES, PLEASE!

First clues as to whether euro zone powerhouse Germany can avoid a fourth quarter recession emerge on Monday when advance PMI readings for November are released globally.

The economic activity surveys, a key barometer of economic health, come after Citi’s economic surprise index showed euro zone economic data beating consensus expectations at the fastest pace since February 2018. The latest surprise was a 1.2% rise in German exports in October, defying forecasts of a contraction.

Hopes are high that exports and private consumption, which helped Germany skirt recession, will hold up. Last month’s PMI data showed manufacturing remained in deep contraction across the bloc.

A Reuters poll showed expectations of a modestly higher 46.0 manufacturing reading in the euro zone but that’s still far below the 50-mark which separates growth from contraction. Services, which have held up better so far, are expected to grow modestly from November, at 52.0.

Graphic: Citi surprise index most positive since Feb 2018, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/12/9901/9813/Citi%20index.png

3/BEWARE THE BOJ

Japan’s central bank meets on Thursday with the global economic outlook “relatively bright,” according to Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

Growth green shoots, a possible U.S.-China trade deal and something nearing certainty on Brexit has got almost everyone expecting the BOJ will do very little: Interest rates are at -0.1% and the bank has eased off bond buying – even though the bank’s balance sheet is bursting with negative-yielding paper.

The government has flagged a gigantic $122 billion stimulus package to keep things moving after next year’s Olympics. Yet the business mood is dire with Friday’s “tankan” survey at its lowest reading since 2013. Big manufacturers – especially automakers – are gloomiest, as the trade war takes its toll.

The Bank of Japan has justified standing pat on the view that robust domestic demand will cushion the hit. It blames the weather and a sales tax for recent patchy data. But another week of dollar weakness will not have gone unnoticed in Tokyo, where a cheaper yen is much desired. A surprise on Tuesday export data forecast to show further contraction and Thursday’s inflation reading could jolt yen longs out of their slumber.

4/JOHNSON, AND MORE JOHNSON

A thumping election win for Prime Minister Boris Johnson has raised hopes that 3-1/2 years of Brexit-fuelled chaos will finally end.

Expectations that he may swing slightly nearer the centre of his Conservative Party, sidelining the fiercest eurosceptics, and ease the path towards a free-trade deal with the European Union have sent sterling and British shares surging.

Yet there are signs of caution, with sterling stalling around $1.35. Further gains will hinge on Johnson’s new cabinet, how the global growth and trade war backdrop pans out and what the Bank of England might do.

At the central bank’s Dec. 19 meeting, markets will watch for any shifts in its views on inflation, the UK economy and the interest rate outlook for 2020. While policymakers have skewed dovish of late amid a torrent of dismal data and sub-target inflation, the election result – and a hoped-for growth recovery – have seen money markets halve the probability of an end-2020 cut to 25%.

Without more clarity, investors might just be wary of chasing sterling much higher.

Graphic: UK economic indicators, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/12/9958/9869/GB.png

5/SWEDEN RETURNS TO ZERO?

While most central banks are busy pondering whether to hold or cut interest rates, Sweden may swim against the tide and deliver a 25 basis-point rate hike on Dec. 19. That will end half a decade of negative interest rates in the country and make it the first in Europe to pull borrowing costs from sub-zero territory.

Policymakers flagged a rate hike in October and recent data showing inflation rising to 1.7% — just off the 2% target — cemented those expectations. The crown’s rallied to eight-month highs versus the euro, up almost 5% since October.

The proposed interest rate increase has its critics, who cite still-sluggish inflation and factory activity at its weakest since 2012.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Norway’s policy meeting, scheduled for the same day, may be less exciting as no change is expected. Investors remain baffled by the Norwegian crown’s weakness – despite policy makers delivering four rate hikes since Sept 2018, it’s at near record lows to the euro.

Graphic: Swedish crown , https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/12/9961/9872/crown.png

(Reporting by Alden Bentley in New York, Tom Westbrook in Singapore, Sujata Rao, Elizabeth Howcroft and Yoruk Bahceli in London, compiled by Karin Strohecker; edited by Philippa Fletcher)

China wants tariffs cut to enable $50 billion imports from U.S.: Bloomberg

China wants tariffs cut to enable $50 billion imports from U.S.: Bloomberg
(Reuters) – China will struggle to buy $50 billion of U.S. farm goods annually unless the United States removes retaliatory tariffs on American products, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

China would make the purchases only if U.S. President Donald Trump rolls back levies put in place since the trade war began, Bloomberg said https://bloom.bg/2OR9dvt, citing people familiar with the matter.

Trump said on Friday that China had agreed to purchase $40 billion to $50 billion worth of agricultural goods from the U.S. in a first phase of an agreement to end the trade war.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens)