The Chinese delegation has changed its travel schedule heading back to China earlier than planned, according to Nicole Rolf, the Montana Farm Bureau Federation’s director of national affairs. There was no explanation as to why they were cutting their trip short, Rolf said. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture also confirmed that the Chinese officials called off a visit to farms in Nebraska.
US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue had confirmed just Thursday that the meetings were in the works as a way for China to build goodwill with American farmers.
The Chinese delegation, led by Vice Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Han Jun, had planned follow-on visits to Bozeman, Montana, and Omaha, Nebraska, CNBC previously reported.
In June, US President Donald Trump said China would be buying “massive amounts” of US farm products as a result of a bilateral meeting between himself and China’s Xi Jinping. So far, those purchases have not materialized. People briefed on the bilateral meeting say China said it would “consider” purchasing farm products but made no concrete commitment.
Major US stock indexes fell into negative territory after the cancellation, although before the news, the S&P 500 and Dow industrials were in positive territory, encouraged by Trump’s promise of a “complete” trade deal.
The delegation was part of the preparations for October talks between the world’s two biggest economies, which are currently locked in a tariff war. The US trade representative said on Friday that the talks were productive and the US is looking forward to welcoming a delegation for principal-level meetings next month.