Ag Today May 18, 2018

China Agrees to Buy More U.S. Goods and Services

By Bob Davis in Washington and Lingling Wei in Beijing
Updated May 18, 2018 8:53 p.m. ET

The U.S. and China wrapped up a second day of talks with Beijing agreeing to buy more U.S. goods and services but resisting demands that it slash by more than half the vast trade deficit, according to people briefed on the talks.

The Chinese were wary of committing to specific purchases, said the people, but were looking for a way to ease trade tensions between the two nations, which have rattled markets globally. Earlier on Friday, White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow said China would buy more farm products, energy and financial services.

The Chinese agreement to increase imports of U.S. products came after two days of intense and combative negotiations involving trade, technology and agricultural issues.

Beijing ended an antidumping probe into imported U.S. sorghum, used for livestock feed and brewing alcohol, which had all but shut down U.S. sales to China. China’s Commerce Ministry said earlier that punitive measures on purchases of the crop would “affect the cost of living for consumers” in China.

But the decision has wider implications: the two sides have been negotiating a deal for the U.S. to ease sanctions on China’s ZTE Corp., as reported by The Wall Street Journal. In exchange, China would end recent restrictions and tariffs on U.S. agricultural products.

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