President Donald Trump said China will start purchasing U.S. farm goods "in large amounts."
His comments came after his decision to delay increasing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15 as a "gesture of good will" to China.
China's Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that Chinese companies have started making inquires about prices of American agricultural products including soybeans and pork. The country halted the purchases in August when Trump abruptly ended the trade cease-fire. China's agriculture buying has been a sticking point in the trade battle as Trump has repeatedly accused China of not following through on its promises.
"Now as it relates to agriculture, we expect and we want them to buy agriculture; We view that as a personal attack on our farmers," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "They need our agriculture. ... This isn't about just selling them soybeans, but we do want to sell them soybeans," he said.
Chinese importers bought a total of 600,000 tonnes of soybeans from U.S. Pacific Northwest export terminals from October to December, Reuters reported Thursday afternoon, citing two traders with knowledge of the deals.
The two countries agreed to meet in early October in Washington and hold deputy-level discussions leading up to the meeting to lay the groundwork for a possible deal. Some insiders and observers expect that this round of negotiation can lead to a breakthrough.
China's vice premier, Liu He, the country's top trade negotiator, said Thursday that the deputy-level talks next week will surround issues including trade balance, market access and investor protection, China's state-run media outlet Xinhua said.
Mnuchin also told CNBC that Trump could do a China trade pact at any time, but wants a "good" deal for U.S. workers.