The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported on Thursday , July 2, that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) booked its first sales of U.S. corn and soybeans after Beijing required suppliers to ensure that shipments were not contaminated with the CCP Virus (Wuhan coronavirus).
A Reuters report, out in several media outlets, cited the USDA report detailing that U.S. exporters reported the sale of 202,000 tons of corn and 126,000 tons of soybeans for delivery during the 2020/21 marketing season, which begins on Sept. 1.
Beijing’s insistence of a guarantee that the shipment are virus free has generated suspicions among federal authorities and U.S. agricultural producers because most international experts say there is no evidence that the CCP virus can be transmitted from food to people.
Those suspicions, which they believe are an excuse for the CCP not to import the amount of products that had been agreed upon, are based on data showing that since the trade agreement was signed in mid-January, Chinese imports of agricultural products from the United States have been far below what Beijing had agreed upon.
“Efforts by some countries to restrict global food exports related to the transmission of COVID-19 [CCP Virus] are not consistent with what science has shown about transmission,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary George “Sonny” Perdue said in a joint statement with Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
Without specifically naming any countries, the official left no doubt about Washington’s position regarding those countries, such as China, that made the COVID-19 excuse for not meeting their trade commitments: “There is no evidence that people can get COVID-19 from food or food packaging.
In fact, while global meat exporters such as JBS SA, along with some U.S. product suppliers, have agreed to sign declarations guaranteeing the safety of their shipments, other exporters have resisted making such declarations, noted the Agricultural Transport Coalition.
The truth is that the CCP’s purchases under the trade agreement have been significantly below agreed levels. This is demonstrated by the latest data collected by the Peterson Institute (PIIE).
While by April 2020 the CCP had committed to importing goods worth approximately $143 billion, the value of sales exported by the United States to Beijing barely reached $20 billion.
This difference is also reflected in agricultural production. By April, Beijing had agreed to import U.S. products to the tune of $36 billion, but the reality was far from that: it made purchases for just $6 billion.
Both President Donald Trump and the head of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, have openly criticized the authorities of the CCP for not keeping its word.
“We are very unhappy with China,” Kudlow said on Fox Business a few days ago, making it clear that no matter what Beijing does, the White House will continue its harsh policy on sensitive issues for the United States such as the military, national security ,and high technology. Meanwhile, President Trump, who has supported the agricultural sector since the beginning of his administration, is aiming to deepen other markets such as Canada and Mexico through the U.S.-Mexico/Canada Agreement (USMCA), which took effect July 1.