In a surprise development this week, Chinese importers started asking U.S. shippers about the price of American farm goods, including soybeans and pork.
An Associated Press (AP) story on Thursday said the gestures appear meant to “reduce tensions ahead of the October negotiations over trade and technology.”
The gestures are taking place just ahead of two of China’s most revered national holidays, National Day and Mid-Autumn day.
Mid-Autumn Day occurs this Friday, Sept. 13, and is second in importance only to the Chinese New Year. National Day is slated for Oct. 1.
Since at least late August, China’s officials have been dipping into the country’s pork reserves, called the meat reserve scheme, to ease its people’s demand for pork.
On Wednesday, President Trump postponed an Oct. 1 tariff hike. Instead, the penalties will now take effect Oct. 15.
To date, Trump has imposed or announced penalties on about $550 billion of Chinese imports.
By delaying the tariff hike, Trump allowed for the possibility the two countries might make enough progress to avert the tariff increase indefinitely, the AP story noted. However, economists say a final agreement is unlikely this year.
U.S. and China officials are expected to meet in Washington in October to discuss trade but haven't announced a date.