China’s Ministry of Commerce last week announced it was removing a recently imposed import duty of 178.6 percent on U.S. sorghum. The announcement came as negotiators from the two countries continue discussing a range of trade issues.
When China announced on Feb. 4 that it was launching an antidumping investigation on U.S. sorghum exports, new sales of U.S. sorghum, which amounted to more than $970 million last year, all but stopped.
On April 17, the Chinese government announced its investigation had determined that U.S. grain sorghum was unfairly subsidized. As a result, U.S. grain sorghum imports immediately became subject to 179 percent duties, a blow to U.S. sorghum growers, who were counting on ever-increasing exports to the world’s second-largest economy.
China’s appetite for U.S. grain sorghum has grown exponentially over the past few years. In 2014, “China’s imports of U.S. grain sorghum soared to nearly $1.5 billion – 15 times what they had been just the year before. Since then, China has remained the dominant importer of U.S. grain sorghum,” American Farm Bureau Federation economist Veronica Nigh wrote in a recent Market Intel.
“The loss of this important market is devastating for U.S. sorghum growers. It drives home that real people’s livelihoods are at stake in these times when trade rhetoric and action is particularly heated,” Nigh noted in the days following China’s announcement of the import duties.
China and the U.S. are also expected to be talking about several other tariffs the two countries have established or proposed in an ongoing tit-for-tat trade war. Though a deal has not been formally announced, President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday that China has agreed to buy “massive amounts of additional” agricultural products from U.S. farmers and ranchers.