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Trade war

China buys 1m tons of US soybeans after trade talks

The purchase designed to allay concerns about Beijing's commitment

China is increasing imports of U.S. soybeans in hopes of alleviating trade tensions.
China is increasing imports of U.S. soybeans in hopes of alleviating trade tensions.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China's state-owned Cofco group said Saturday that it has bought an additional 1 million tons of U.S. soybeans in a move that showcases Beijing's commitment to trade agreements following high-level talks in Washington last week.

The purchase, made in line with a December agreement between the two countries, added to the "millions of tons" of American soybeans Cofco had already bought in batches, the company said.

Amid escalating trade tensions, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised U.S. President Donald Trump in December that China would increase imports of American agricultural products and energy resources. And Vice Premier Liu He, who is visiting the U.S., told Trump that China would expand soybean imports by 5 million tons.

Cofco's announcement appears meant to allay Washington's concerns -- expressed during the bilateral talks -- over whether Beijing will actually make promised purchases.

But the U.S. is not just pushing China to boost imports. Many experts believe that a fundamental resolution is impossible unless Beijing proposes concrete steps to address such issues as forced technology transfers and government subsidies.

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