Chinese Delegation Heads Home Early, Cancels Farm Visits

Chinese trade negotiators did an about-face on Friday, canceling a visit to meet U.S. farmers after they wrapped up trade talks in Washington.

The Chinese delegation was going to visit Bozeman, Montana, and Omaha, Nebraska, but the unexpected cancellation puts a damper on hopes that China would restart purchases of U.S. agricultural products, which it halted in April as retaliation against U.S. tariffs.

China made up $5.9 billion in U.S. farm product exports in 2018. It’s the world’s top buyer of soybeans and purchased about 60 percent of U.S. soybean exports that year. Tensions between the two countries had eased as both countries held off on imposing additional tariffs on each other’s goods.

Meanwhile, China and Russia wrapped up three days of talks with an agreement to double their trade in five years. The two nations set a goal of increasing their trade to $200 billion in the next half-decade.

China and Russia will work to improve the flow of agricultural, industrial, and technological products and services. Soybeans were a big topic of conversation between the Chinese Premier and Russian President Putin. Soybeans have become a major issue for China during its trade dispute with the U.S.