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 D.C. last week. A CNBC article said the Chinese delegation is headed back to China earlier than planned. Nicole Rolf, director of national affairs with the Montana Farm Bureau, says there wasn’t any explanation as to why they cut their trip short. Nebraska ag department officials also confirmed that the Chinese delegation called off a visit to farms in that state as well. U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue had confirmed last Thursday that the meetings were in the works as a way for China to build goodwill with American farmers. The Chinese delegation was going to visit Bozeman, MT, and Omaha, NE.
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.
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