China will increase its purchases of U.S. agricultural products following secret talks between the two nations held in Hawaii, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
China is a vital market for American soybeans, corn, ethanol, meat, and other agricultural products. But Beijing, which committed to buying $36.5 billion in American agricultural goods under the terms of a phase-one trade deal signed by President Trump and Chinese premier Xi Jinping, had only purchased $4.65 billion worth through the first four months of 2020.
The talks on Wednesday, attended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese foreign-policy chief Yang Jiechi, were intended to smooth conflicts over the trade deal.
“During my meeting with CCP Politburo Member Yang Jiechi, he recommitted to completing and honoring all of the obligations of Phase 1 of the trade deal between our two countries,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter following the meeting.
The Chinese commerce ministry did not respond to Bloomberg‘s request for comment.
Phase one of the trade deal went into effect just before the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, China ballooned into a global pandemic. Relations between the U.S. and China have soured considerably since then, with American officials blaming China for not preventing the spread of the virus. The two nations were already in the midst of a trade war, with each imposing tariffs on exports from the other.