President Trump on Thursday accused China of breaking a promise President Xi Jinping made at the G20 to buy more USA farm products - ratcheting up the pressure as talks resumed over the trade war between the world's two largest economies. US stocks pared gains after the president's tweet.
Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters Thursday that Washington expects Beijing to start purchasing American farm products "very soon",. calling it a "key point" of the trade negotiations.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke on the phone with their Chinese counterparts this week, marking the first high-level contact following the G-20 meeting. The truce suspended USA plans to impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods - action that would have extended the taxes to everything China ships to America.
Earlier on Thursday, Chinese Ministry of Commerce Spokesman Gao Feng said the agricultural trade is "an important issue that the two sides need to talk about" but didn't confirm whether China agreed to buy American agricultural products as part of the agreement reached in Osaka.
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Since the breakdown, China's state media has taken a increasingly nationalistic tone, putting out articles and commentaries blasting the United States and its tariffs. After his meeting with Xi in Osaka, Trump said he would refrain from imposing tariffs on more Chinese products.
Beijing's retaliatory tariffs previous year on imports of agricultural goods have slammed many farmers - a key Trump constituency - forcing bankruptcies and a slowdown in farm lending as many operations struggle and fall deeper into debt.
In addition to opposing sharp-elbowed Chinese tech policies, the United States wants Beijing to buy more US products and to narrow America's trade deficit with China - a record $381 billion a year ago.
Washington and Beijing were close to completing a deal in May when Chinese officials balked at requirements that it change its laws to implement reforms, United States officials charged.