China Reportedly Ramping Up Purchases Of US Agricultural Goods After Hawaii Meeting

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Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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China reportedly plans to speed up purchases of American agricultural goods in order to comply with the Phase 1 trade deal signed by the United States and China earlier this year, following a meeting Wednesday in Hawaii.

China, which is one of the world’s largest agricultural importers, will accelerate purchases of a number of American products, including corn, soybeans and ethanol, two sources familiar with the decision told Bloomberg News. Another source told Bloomberg that the Chinese government also asked state-owned enterprises to buy more agricultural goods.

China agreed to purchase $36.5 billion in American agriculture goods when the Phase 1 trade deal was signed in January. But in the first four months — likely due to the coronavirus pandemic — China only purchased $4.65 billion worth of products, according to data from the Department of Agriculture.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Yang Jiechi Wednesday at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. There was no formal announcement by either the U.S. or Chinese government, and no public agenda was released for the meeting, Politico reported.

Pompeo tweeted Thursday that Yang committed to honoring China’s part of the trade deal, although other details about the meeting are currently unclear.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany declined to say whether Friday’s announcement indicates progress towards a Phase 2 trade deal. The State Department did not respond to inquiries from the Daily Caller.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also did not comment on the Hawaii meeting or China’s plans for the trade deal. In a briefing Friday, he stated only that “China-U.S. economic and trade relations are mutually beneficial in nature.”

Trade relations have been sidelined amid rising tensions between the two countries over issues such as the treatment of China’s Uighur Muslims and Hong Kong’s political status. (RELATED: Chinese Propaganda Outlet Has Paid US Newspapers $19 Million For Advertising, Printing)

A recent book by former national security advisor John Bolton has also generated controversy for including unverified comments that Trump allegedly made to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump and other officials rejected the allegations and said the claims were fictitious.