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China ends US sorghum anti-dumping probe, OKs Toshiba deal

AP  |  Hong Kong 

has dropped an anti-investigation and given long awaited approval for the sale of Toshiba's memory chip business, in gestures that could suggest a thaw between and the U.S. as trade talks resumed in

The said today ended the probe into imported US sorghum because it's not in the public interest. A day earlier, cleared the way for a group led by US private equity firm to buy Corp.'s computer memory chip

The moves signaled Beijing's willingness to make a deal with amid talks between senior US and Chinese officials aimed at averting a trade war between the world's two biggest economies, analysts say.

"I think is willing to make concessions," said Wang Tao, chief economist at

"The Chinese stance has been very clear, that China wants to mute any trade dispute. But of course it doesn't mean China would heed to all the demands the US would place."

A said China had offered to work to cut the trade deficit with the US by USD 200 billion, while stressing that the details remained unclear. But denied it.

"It's untrue," said

"The relevant discussion is still underway, and it is constructive." The said it was ending the anti-probe and a parallel anti-subsidy investigation because they would have raised costs for consumers.

The US is China's biggest supplier of sorghum, accounting for more than 90 per cent of total imports. China's investigation, launched in February, had come as a warning shot to American farmers, many of whom support the yet depend heavily on trade. They feared they would lose their largest export market for the crop, which is used primarily for animal feed and liquor.

The said that, "Anti-and countervailing measures against imported sorghum originating in the would affect the cost of living of a majority of consumers and would not be in the public interest," according to a notice posted on its website.

It said it had received many reports that the investigation would result in higher costs for the livestock industry, adding that many domestic pig farmers were facing hardship because of declining pork prices.

China's US sorghum imports surged from 317,000 metric tons in 2013 to 4.76 million tonnes last year while prices fell by about a third in the same period. The ministry said any deposits for the preliminary anti-dumping tariffs of 178.6 per cent, which took effect on April 18, would be returned in full.

The announcement came after met at the with Chinese Liu He, the of China's delegation for talks with a US team headed by

Trump had told reporters earlier that he had doubts about the potential for an agreement. He also raised fresh uncertainty about resolving a case involving Chinese tech company ZTE, which was hit with a crippling seven-year ban on buying from US. suppliers, forcing it to halt major operations.

Trump said the company "did very bad things" to the US and would be a "small component of the overall deal." Song Lifang, an and trade expert at Renmin University, said haggling is currently underway.

"It's time for both to present their demands, but it's also a time to exhibit their bargaining chips," said Song, adding that approval for the deal, worth USD 18 billion, was "an apparent sign of thaw" amid a US investigation into Chinese trade practices requiring US companies to turn over their technology in exchange for access to China's market.

The has proposed tariffs on up to USD 150 billion in Chinese products to punish while China has responded by targeting USD 50 billion in US imports. Neither country has yet imposed tariffs.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 20:20 IST