Britain eyes bespoke trade arrangement with EU, UK finance minister says

British finance minister Philip Hammond said the UK would develop a trade deal that is not a ‘Canada model.’ (Reuters)
Updated 16 December 2017
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Britain eyes bespoke trade arrangement with EU, UK finance minister says

BEIJING: British Finance Minister Philip Hammond said it is likely Britain will want to negotiate a bespoke arrangement for future trade deals with the EU.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing on Saturday with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai and Chinese Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin, Hammond said he expected that the UK would develop a trade deal that is not a “Canada model.”
Hammond, who is in China on an official visit, was referring to a deal similar to the one the EU agreed to last year with Canada.
Shi told reporters that China believes Britain and the EU are able to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to both sides.
The European Union agreed on Friday to move Brexit talks onto trade and a transition pact but some leaders cautioned that the final year of divorce negotiations before Britain’s exit could be fraught with peril.
EU leaders, who had offered British Prime Minister Theresa May a rare summit round of applause over dinner in Brussels the night before, took just 10 minutes to agree that she had made “sufficient progress” on divorce terms last week and to give negotiators a mandate to move on to the main phase of talks.
Summit chair Donald Tusk said the world’s biggest trading bloc would start “exploratory contacts” with Britain on what London wants in a future trade relationship, as well as starting discussion on the immediate post-Brexit transition.
The Brexit negotiations have been a vexed issue for the global economy as markets feared prolonged uncertainty would hit global trade and the growth.
A transition period is now seen as crucial for investors and businesses who worry that a “cliff-edge” Brexit would disrupt trade flows and sow chaos through financial markets.
Hammond’s China visit is the latest instalment in long-running economic talks between the two states but it has now taken on new importance for Britain as it looks to re-invent itself as a global trading nation after leaving the EU in 2019.


China sorghum imports jump after Beijing dropped probe into US shipments: Customs

Updated 23 July 2018
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China sorghum imports jump after Beijing dropped probe into US shipments: Customs

  • China brought in 450,000 tons of sorghum in June, up from last year’s 324,301 tons
  • Corn buyers, meanwhile, scooped up cargoes on worries over the return of US-China trade policy tit-for-tat amid high domestic prices

BEIJING: China’s sorghum imports in June surged 38.1 percent on year, boosted by a temporary easing of Sino-US trade tensions, while corn imports for the month rose to one of highest levels in the past decade, customs data showed on Monday.
China brought in 450,000 tons of sorghum in June, up from last year’s 324,301 tons. Volumes were still down slightly from 470,000 tons in May, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
Beijing announced in mid-April that importers of sorghum from the United States would have to put up a 178.6 percent deposit on the value of shipments. Several cargoes already on the way changed course and were diverted to other markets.
A month later in a goodwill measure, however, China dropped the deposit and an anti-dumping probe into US sorghum imports as the two sides appeared to be reaching consensus on resolving trade issues.
“Some cargoes were already on the way to China when Beijing dropped the deposit. Then they cleared customs in weeks after. That should have pushed up the June volumes,” said Cherry Zhang, an analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligent Co. Ltd, before the data release.
Corn buyers, meanwhile, scooped up cargoes on worries over the return of US-China trade policy tit-for-tat amid high domestic prices.
Corn imports in June hit 520,000 tons, up 34.6 percent from a year ago and the second highest since July last year. The figures were down from 760,000 tons in May, the data showed.
The corn imports in the first six months tripled to 2.21 million tons, already close to China’s total 2017 purchase of 2.82 million tons of the grain, according to the data.
“There were margins importing corn as domestic corn prices were relatively high. And buyers were buying more corn in recent couple of months to prepare for the Sino-US trade tension in advance,” said Meng Jinhui, an analyst with Shengda Futures.
UScorn and sorghum shipments to China should drop significantly in July and August, analysts and traders said, as Beijing imposed a 25 percent tariff on US grains on July 6.
China buys almost all its sorghum imports from the United States.
In the first half of this year, China has brought in 3.25 million tons of sorghum, up 8.7 percent from the same period of 2017, the data showed.
China also brought in 590,000 tons of barley in June, down 5.6 percent from a year ago. Barley imports for the first half of the year were at 4.4 million tons, down 2.7 percent.
Wheat imports were at 310,000 tons in June, down 33.6 percent from a year ago. Wheat imports for the first half were at 1.95 million tons, down 26.4 percent, the data showed.
China bought 280,000 tons of sugar and 98,566 tons of pork in June. In the first half of the year, China’s sugar imports were at 1.38 million tons, and shipments of pork were at 647,985 tons, both down from last year’s levels.