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China’s Phase One Purchases Slow

Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that, “China pulled back on its already halting progress toward meeting its U.S. trade deal targets, slowing purchases of all types of goods covered by the agreement despite calls from the Biden administration for Beijing to adhere to its commitments.

“China Slows Its Progress on U.S. Trade Deal Purchases Amid Talks,” Bloomberg News (November 23, 2021).

“China bought $9.5 billion worth of manufactured, agricultural and energy goods in October, bringing the total purchases to $210.4 billion since the trade deal was signed in January 2020, according to Bloomberg analysis of official Chinese data.

Last month’s procurement was the slowest pace in a year, with China now having reached only 56% of the two-year target of $378.4 billion.

The Bloomberg article explained that, “U.S. officials have recently increased their calls for China to abide by the agreement, though it’s unknown what steps it would take in response to Beijing failing to meet its goals. The trade targets expire at the end of next month, although it includes a sentence that both sides expect the increase in purchases to continue in ‘2022 through 2025.'”

“China Slows Its Progress on U.S. Trade Deal Purchases Amid Talks,” Bloomberg News (November 23, 2021).

Recall that in October, the Biden administration begin defining its China trade policy, and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met virtually with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He as the executive branch kicked off its trade-policy engagement with China.

More recently, President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a virtual summit earlier this month; however, Washington Post writers Seung Min Kim, Ashley Parker, Ellen Nakashima and Lily Kuo reported at the time that, “Trade was raised, and Biden emphasized the need for China to uphold its commitments to buy additional goods from the United States, but it was not a ‘dominant part’ of the conversation, the official said.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently discussed U.S., China agricultural trade numbers in a segment on USDA Radio News, where he noted that: “[W]e are not satisfied with the level of activity, or implementation of Phase One” (audio replay here (MP3- 1 minute)).

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good

Keith Good is the social media manager for the farmdoc project at the University of Illinois. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily FarmPolicy.com News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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