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China scraps antidumping probe on US sorghum imports

China's Commerce Ministry will terminate an antidumping probe on U.S. sorghum imports in an apparent conciliatory gesture as the two countries enter their second day of trade talks in Washington.

Beijing launched the probe on U.S. sorghum imports in February, alleging U.S. companies dumped the product in China. Effective April 18, importers of the cereal grain used in animal feed and Chinese liquor baiju were required to pay deposits worth 178.6% of the value of shipments.

The ministry said it will return in full the temporary antidumping deposits that have been collected.

A ministry statement that antidumping and antisubsidies penalties would increase the costs for consumers. With the tariffs, inflated costs for sorghum, used in liquor and animal feed, would be passed onto feed makers and eventually increase retail meat prices.

"Antidumping and antisubsidy measures on sorghum imported from the U.S. would affect the cost of living of consumers and would be against public interest," the ministry said.

The U.S. shipped 4.76 million tonnes of sorghum to China in 2017, worth around $1.1 billion, making up the bulk of China's estimated 5 million tonnes of imports of the grain in 2017, Reuters said, citing China customs data.