China-US farm talks achieved 'good outcome': Chinese official

Chinese negotiator says both countries had 'thorough and candid' communications on agriculture

    Chinese officials were scheduled to visit US farms in Nebraska and Montana, but the trip was unexpectedly called off on Friday, sending global stock markets lower [File: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg]
    Chinese officials were scheduled to visit US farms in Nebraska and Montana, but the trip was unexpectedly called off on Friday, sending global stock markets lower [File: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg]

    China did not cancel planned visits to farms in the United States because of challenges in trade negotiations with the US, a report by state-backed media group Yicai quoted Beijing's senior agricultural representative as saying. The talks last week achieved a "good outcome", the report added.

    The visits by Chinese officials to farms in Montana and Nebraska scheduled for this week were unexpectedly called off, just as deputy trade negotiators wrapped up two days of talks in Washington, casting further uncertainty over a China-US trade deal.

    The cancellation pushed major global stock indexes lower on Friday as optimism about a trade deal faded.

    The Bloomberg news agency quoted unidentified sources as saying that the cancellation of the trip was done at the request of the US.

    US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's office was unaware of the visit until it was scheduled, and subsequently asked the Chinese delegation not to go, one person familiar with the matter said.

    Another said that the Chinese were told that the cancellation was due to domestic reasons.

    But last week's trade negotiations were constructive and made thorough preparations for talks in early October, said Han Jun, the deputy director of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group, at an event in Washington, DC, according to Yicai.

    "There was a good outcome from the negotiations in the agriculture area too. The two sides had thorough and candid communications," Han said, according to Yicai.

    The farm visits were planned separately to the trade talks, and the US has said they will send out another invitation at another time, Han said according to the report.

    The farm visits were seen as a goodwill gesture, which could have led to purchases of US soybeans and pork. 

    News of the Chinese delegation's change in plans surfaced an hour after US President Donald Trump said he was not interested in a "partial deal" with China based on agricultural trade with Beijing.

    China is willing to further expand the scale of China-US agricultural trade and deepen cooperation between the two countries in the agriculture sector, Han said, according to the report.

    SOURCE: News agencies