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China makes major U.S. sorghum purchase

China makes major U.S. sorghum purchase

The purchase is China’s largest since the trade war with the U.S. began

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

China made its largest purchase of a specific U.S. ag commodity since the trade war between the two countries started in February 2018.

This year, between Feb. 28 and March 7, China bought 2.6 million bushels of American sorghum, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural said in its latest export sales report on Thursday.

The purchase is a sign that trade negotiations are moving in the right direction, the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) said.

“The vessel purchase is great news for U.S. sorghum, and we are thrilled to see it on the books going into the 2019 planting season as hopefully a first of many,” Dan Atkisson, chairman of NSP, said in a statement Thursday. “We believe today’s news is a direct result of meetings between our two nations’ leaders, and we appreciate both administrations continuing to press forward to achieve a long-term agreement in U.S. and China trade relations.”

The U.S. exported about 205 million bushels of sorghum to China during the 2016-17 marketing year. Those export figures dropped to about 5 million tons during the 2017-18 marketing year as two countries imposed tariffs.

Those import levies included China applying a 179 percent tariff on U.S. sorghum imports in April 2018. China lifted that tariff a month later.

Other markets bought U.S. sorghum in China’s absence, but none could make up for China’s market share.

“We had a short crop and there was a lack of a market,” Jason Lee, general manager of Planter’s Co-Op, a grain elevator in Odem, Texas, told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times on Monday. “Mexico is in the market, so they bought some of our supply … but there just simply wasn’t the demand.”

Sorghum/Mailson Pignata/iStock/Getty Images Plus


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