China Imports Still Lagging on Phase One

China recently began purchasing more agricultural goods from the United States as the Asian country continues to recover from COVID-19 shutdowns, but it is still far behind where it needs to be to meet the terms of the Phase One trade agreement with the U.S.

At the end of May, China had bought just 19 percent of the total purchase target of more than $170 billion in goods during 2020. Those numbers from U.S. Customs Administration data mean that China will need to buy about $139 billion in goods over the remainder of this year. China agreed to buy an additional $200 billion in goods and services over the 2017 level of purchases by the end of next year.

The trade agreement paused a brutal trade war between the two largest economies in the world. “China will have to increase its purchases significantly in the coming months to meet the buying targets,” says Michelle Lam, an economist based in Hong Kong. “However, as long as China keeps buying, markets could stay calm.”

Industry analysts saw a significant jump in Chinese imports of American commodities in May. In June, China imported more meat than it did in April or May.