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China: Trade probe of US sorghum imports ‘normal investigation’

The move follows a US decision to raise tariffs on some Chinese-made washing machines and solar power equipment.

The Chinese government said an anti-dumping probe of imported US sorghum is a “normal case of trade remedy”, following suggestions the move amounts to retaliation over Washington’s investigation of Chinese steel and other goods.

The Chinese ministry of commerce announced it is investigating whether US sorghum is being exported to China at improperly low prices.

That follows White House decisions to raise tariffs on some Chinese-made washing machines and solar power equipment and to investigate steel imports and Beijing’s technology policy.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “I hereby just want to stress that it is merely a normal individual case of trade remedy investigation.”

The ministry of commerce said it launched the probe of US sorghum after concluding large volumes of the grain and falling prices hurt Chinese producers. Ministers could raise import duties or take other steps if it finds the United States acted improperly.

Business chiefs had suggested Beijing might target US agriculture exports if it wants to retaliate in the event the Trump administration takes more severe action on trade.

The White House is believed to be on the verge of announcing the results of an investigation into whether Beijing improperly pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

Beijing has accused US president Donald Trump of threatening the stability of the international trade regulation system by taking action under US law instead of through the World Trade Organisation.

US-Chinese trade relations are “mutually beneficial”, Mr Geng insisted.

He said: “We are willing to deepen reciprocal cooperation with the United States and continue benefiting the two peoples.

“We hope the United States will go along with China to make concrete efforts to this end.”

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