China resumes U.S. soybean imports, may cut auto tariffs

Trump Departs G-20

USA stocks closed up on Wednesday afternoon, though well below their session highs as investors pulled back in the last few minutes of trading despite optimism about U.S.

The tariff reduction benefits Daimler and BMW more than US automakers such as General Motors or Ford Motor Co.

However, the purchases would provide a goodwill gesture before the next round of US-China talks to change their terms of trade. The US now charges a 27.5pc tax on imported cars from China.

The US has hit a total of US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods with tariffs since July, and China has retaliated by imposing duties on US$110 billion of US goods.

Traders have been watching closely for signs of confirmation of a resumption of Chinese buying of USA soybeans, particularly after Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning that "very productive conversations" were going on with China.

News of the move, also reported by other media outlets and automotive executives briefed on the talks, boosted automakers' shares and helped lift USA shares more broadly before worries about a US government shutdown prompted a pullback. According to Iowa State University's Agricultural Policy Review, 60% of all USA soybean exports, which is a quarter of the entire crop, went to China.

Skepticism also remains over the impact on the soybean market, as the imports are likely to be made by state-owned enterprises while Chinese commercial buyers that typically buy more are still hampered by tariffs.

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Mr Trump's tweet came shortly after he agreed with Mr Xi to a truce in the trade war during a meeting at the G20 summit in Argentina.

China is the largest buyer of US soy, but has purchased little since Beijing slapped steep tariffs on USA shipments on July 6 in retaliation for duties on Chinese goods.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said it was clear China has been de-emphasizing the 2025 plan in response to objections from the United States and other countries, "but that doesn't mean they've dropped it". Mr Xi had conceded to the arrangement with the agreement that US President Donald Trump puts a hold on enacting the new China tariffs. Ford exports more of its cars to China than GM, Dzichek said, because it has less of a footprint in the country. The U.S. Trade Representative's office did not immediately respond to a query about the call, according to Reuters.

China is the largest market for U.S. soybeans, making up over 60% of total exports in 2017. China's decision came amid a period of heightening tensions between the US and China over trade and intellectual property issues.

Trump also said he would intervene in the Justice Department's case against a top executive at China's Huawei Technologies if it served national security interests or helped to close a trade deal.

The development bodes well for Ford Motor Company and BMW, which export luxury vehicles made from the United States to China. Media reports said China agreed to reduce the auto tariffs.

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