Last night, we reported that President Trump had decided to delay a 5% increase in tariffs on Chinese goods by two weeks, supposedly out of respect for Beijing and its celebration of 70 years of Communist Party rule on Oct. 1. Trump’s decision came less than a day after China waived 25% tariffs on 16 types of US goods to try and “sweeten” the deal ahead of trade talks next month.
Now, in the latest tit-for-tat deescalation of trade tensions, Bloomberg reports that Beijing is considering whether to permit imports of American agricultural products including soybeans and pork, a move that would further alleviate trade tensions while bolstering support for Trump in the midwestern farm states that comprise a sizable chunk of his base. Foodstuffs and farm products were notably not included in the 16 goods exempted from tariffs earlier this week. According to the Ministry of Commerce, Chinese companies have started asking about prices for US soybeans and pork, a sign that they could restart imports in the near future.
Reopening the door to US soybean imports would come at a critical time for Beijing, which this week announced that it would start allowing imports of soy meal from Argentina to offset the drop in US raw soybeans. China halted imports of US farm products in August as trade talks broke down and President Trump ordered more tariffs on Chinese goods.