China hits Us sorghum trade with fresh duty

BEIJING • China will impose temporary anti-dumping deposits on US sorghum imports from today, adding to trade tensions between the world’s biggest economies. Soybean meal futures climbed on concerns the oilseed could be targeted next.

Imports will incur a 178.6% duty, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a preliminary ruling yesterday. That’s in compliance with domestic law and World Trade Organisation rules, Wang Hejun, chief of the trade remedy and investigation bureau at the ministry, said in a statement.

China began a probe into sorghum imports from the US in early February, just weeks after US President Donald Trump slapped tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines.

Tensions between the countries have since escalated after Trump ordered levies on steel and aluminium, with plans for more on products from China. The Asian nation, the largest buyer of American sorghum, has responded with tariffs of its own and potentially more to come.

“The rate is quite high and some buyers may have to cancel shipments,” said Li Qiang, chief analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. A rally in domestic corn prices since late last year has prompted domestic feed mills to increase purchases of the grain from the US, he said.

China imported about 4.8 million metric tonnes of sorghum from the US last year, worth about US$957 million (RM3.72 billion). Purchases in the first two months of 2018 were 11% lower than a year earlier. — Bloomberg