China begins buying from US again as phase one trade deal kicks in

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Liquefied petroleum gas and agricultural products are making their way to China from the US again.

China is making good on the promises it committed to as part of a phase one trade deal with the US, having ramped up its purchases of key goods from the North American nation in recent days.

Beijing recently waived a host of tariffs as part of a preliminary Sino-US agreement aimed at boosting imports of US goods, with new data showing importers are hurrying to apply for waivers.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is among the first products to benefit as Chinese buyers make investments after a break of almost 20 trade war-embittered months, analysts have said.

Indeed, Reuters quotes an IHS insider as saying China may have purchased up to 220,000 tonnes of the fossil fuel so far because new exemptions mean US LPG now only has a one per cent import duty.

This puts it on a par with the Middle East and could have an impact on cargoes from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

In 2017, China was the second-biggest buyer of LPG exports from the US, but this dried up almost completely as the two nations engaged in a tit-for-tat trade war the following year.

Elsewhere, China has also made several large purchases of American grain in the past week, according to industry groups.

The US Department of Agriculture said some 340,000 metric tonnes of wheat have been sold to the Asian nation, alongside 750,000 tonnes of corn and a million tons of sorghum. The latter is the largest purchase made since retaliatory tariffs were applied to agricultural products in summer 2018.

Meanwhile, US president Donald Trump has said he is soliciting public comments on lifting additional tariffs on Chinese imports if it could help the country battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Exclusions have already been applied to products including face masks and medical wipes in recent weeks, the US Trade Representative has confirmed.