WASHINGTON — Following the May 18 announcement by China’s Ministry of Commerce that it was dropping its sanctions on U.S. sorghum, associations representing growers are hopeful it’s a sign trade tensions between the nations is lessening.
China said it terminated the anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations because it did not serve the public interest. It is also returning in full the anti-dumping deposit collected on U.S. sorghum imports. China imposed a 178.6% duty on U.S. imports on April 18, sending exporters scrambling for new markets.
“We hope the dismissal of these cases reflects a lessening of trade tensions as our leaders continue to dialogue,” said Don Bloss, chairman of the National Sorghum Producers. ”Agricultural production and international trade is one of the United States’ greatest success stories.”
China was the top destination for U.S. sorghum exports in 2016-17 at 4.8 million tonnes. The nation accounts for about 70% of U.S. sorghum exports.
Mr. Bloss said the N.S.P. looks forward to deepening its trade ties with its Chinese partners and customers.
The organization cooperated with China’s investigations, which started in February, submitting thousands of pages of responses showing U.S. sorghum was being fairly traded with China.
“We demonstrated that we were helping, not injuring, Chinese consumers and farmers, and it was in no one’s real interest to restrict this important trade,” Mr. Bloss said.
Tom Sleight, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Grains Council, said the U.S.G.C. was grateful for the intense efforts of the White House, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. sorghum industry during the investigations.
“The U.S. Grains Council has worked closely with partners in China since 1982 in the areas of food security and trade,” Mr. Sleight said. “We highly value our customers there and remain committed to engaging this complex and critical market. U.S. sorghum exports to China are mutually beneficial, and we are grateful MOFCOM looked at the facts of the matter and decided to restore this trade.
“Today’s development is also a step in the right direction for U.S.-China trade relations, and we hope it is a platform for further lessening of tensions and challenges facing U.S. grains exports to China.”
According to news reports, the announcement came hours after China offered a package to slash its trade deficit by $200 billion.
U.S. and Chinese officials have been meeting in Washington as part of ongoing trade negotiations.
No mention was made of the threat China has made to impose a 25% tariff on U.S. soybeans.
China is the main export destination for U.S. soybeans, accounting for 61% of exports last year.