Region/Countries: Asia, China Industry: Agriculture / Timber, Multiple Sectors Date: December 2018

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: China also made a major purchase of U.S. soybeans—a positive sign in a market that had been disrupted for several months.

On December 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Argentina. According to press releases that followed the meeting, both sides agreed to halt further tariff escalations and intensify their negotiation efforts within the next 90 days, hoping to reach a deal to remove the tariffs the two countries have imposed on each other this year.

As a preliminary result of the negotiation, China will suspend for three months additional tariffs placed on U.S.-made vehicles and auto parts as a concrete measure to implement the consensus reached by the two countries' leaders in Buenos Aires, the State Council's Tariff Commission Office announced. The measure, which spans Jan. 1 to March 31, will postpone 25 percent tariffs on 144 taxable items and 5 percent tariffs for 67 items. The tariffs were imposed on U.S.-made vehicles and auto parts in the summer.

In addition, China made a major purchase of U.S. soybeans on Dec. 12, according to Reuters—the first sign that the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans is returning to a market that had been disrupted for several months because of an ongoing trade dispute between the two countries. Chinese companies bought at least 500,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans for no less than $180 million. The purchase came about one week after a meeting between the two countries' presidents, in which China is said to have promised “substantial” purchases of U.S. agricultural products.