China halts US sorghum investigations, deposit collection

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced Friday that it is ending its anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations into US sorghum.

The ministry also said that it would stop collecting a 178.6% anti-dumping deposit that it had initially imposed in April, and that would be returning what had already been collected. The initial investigation into US sorghum started in February.

During the investigation into US sorghum trading practices, a number of sorghum users in China said they thought the investigation would raise costs for the livestock industry, the ministry said in a statement​ on the decision. Enacting anti-dumping and countervailing measures against sorghum from the US was found not to be in the public interest, it added.

As the price of domestic pork has declined, several producers are facing difficulties and measures against imported sorghum were not helpful, the ministry said.  

Sorghum is one of the most produced feed grains in the US and the main export market in recent years has been China, according to trade information from the US Grains Council. In marketing year 2016/17, China imported 4.8m metric tons.

US trade welcomes decision 

The National Sorghum Producers (NSP) in the US said it was pleased with the decision, and that it hoped the change marks a “lessening”​ of the trade tensions between both countries.

Don Bloss, NSP chairman, said the move was a win-win for China and for America’s sorghum farmers. “We agree that it is in China’s public interest to terminate these cases, and we look forward to deepening our trade ties with our Chinese partners and customers.”

The NSP has been cooperating with the investigations to show that sorghum was being traded fairly, he said. “We demonstrated that we were helping, not injuring, Chinese consumers and farmers, and it was in no one’s real interest to restrict this important trade,”​ he added.

The US Grains Council (UGC) echoed the statement, saying the move was a “step in the right direction”​ for trade relations between the US and China.

“This is critical good news for US sorghum producers and exporters, and US agriculture as a whole,”​ said Tom Sleight, president and CEO, UGC.

"The US Grains Council has worked closely with partners in China since 1982 in the areas of food security and trade,” ​he said.

“We highly value our customers there and remain committed to engaging this complex and critical market. US sorghum exports to China are mutually beneficial, and we are grateful MOFCOM looked at the facts of the matter and decided to restore this trade.”

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