Souring US ties prompt China to seek sweeter trade with India

The ongoing trade war between China and the US is pushing the Asian powerhouse to sweeten ties with neighboring India China’s refiners are considering the purchase of unprecedented amounts of Indian raw sugar, with a delegation visiting the South Asian nation next month to meet mill officials and inspect logistics infrastructure, according to an Indian official. Refiners may buy the sugar if prices are good enough, said Liu Hande, vice chairman of China Sugar Association. The potential sales come amidst the tariff war that’s prompting China to build stronger ties with other nations. The timing couldn’t be better for India, where record output is forecast to boost domestic stockpiles. A deal on sugar would be the second such agricultural commodity agreement recently after China said it would import non-basmati rice, India’s Ministry of Commerce said. China needs to show its open attitude to trading partners, and is likely to purchase a symbolic amount in a show of good will given its trade spat with the US, said Zhan Xiao. The volume may not be as big as India expects, especially given China’s large state stockpiles, estimated as high as 7 million tons, said Shanghai Buyun’s Zhan. Sugar stockpiles in India climbed to 10.7 million tons at the start of the crop year on Oct. 1, the biggest in a decade, from 3.9 million tons a year earlier, according to the Indian Sugar Mills Association. India plans to export 2 million tons of raw sugar to China, starting in 2019, the Commerce Ministry has said. An Indian entity has already contracted with Cofco International Ltd. to export 50,000 tons, and the country is positioned to become a significant exporter to China, the government said.

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