12:54 GMT19 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Chinese authorities have ordered additional soybeans to be planted in the Heilongjiang province and the Jilin province in northeast China amid fears that imports of soybeans could be affected by growing trade tensions with the United States, Chinese media reported Thursday.

    The Agricultural Committee in the Heilongjiang province held a special meeting recently to arrange detailed tasks of expanding soybeans production, Shanghai-based publication The Paper said.

    The Jilin province committee called expanding soybeans production the "top political task" at the moment.

    According to a widely circulated "urgent notice" from the Agricultural Committee in the Heilongjiang province, the region is expected to expand soybeans planting by 5 million mu (about 1.7 million hectares) this year.

    READ MORE: Xi Jinping Vows to Reduce Chinese Import Tariffs

    China’s soybeans imports grew steadily in recent years, reaching a record high of 95.54 million tonnes in 2017. US soybeans accounted for about 34.3 percent of China’s overall soybeans import last year.

    However, trade tensions between China and United States heated in recent months, after US President Donald Trump threatened to introduce steep tariffs up to $150 billion on Chinese products. In response, Chinese authorities vowed to retaliate with harsh tariffs on major US exports to China, including soybeans and airplanes, matching the value of Chinese products targeted by the Trump administration.

    According to Beijing’s proposed retaliation plan, US soybeans could face 25 percent tariffs when exported to China. Agricultural trader Bunge reportedly said that China has stopped buying US soybeans.


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