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Update: China halts purchases of US farm products; does not rule out new tariffs

China's Commerce Ministry said Aug. 5 that Chinese companies have stopped buying U.S. agricultural products and that country would temporarily not rule out the possibility of imposing new tariffs on imported U.S. farm products that were bought after Aug. 3, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump announced to levy an addition 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Recently, China had reportedly allowed five companies to purchase up to 3 million tons of U.S. soybeans without tariffs in a goodwill gesture after Trump accused Beijing of reneging on its promise to import more U.S. agricultural products.

Calling such accusations "groundless," Cong Liang, secretary general of China's National Development and Reform Commission, reportedly said China has made good progress in its commitment to buy more U.S. agricultural products following Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G-20 summit in June.

Turning the tables on the Trump administration, Cong urged the U.S. to "do more to clear obstacles and create conditions" for more purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

The latest skirmish in the U.S.-China trade conflict weighed heavily on U.S. equities on Aug. 5, with the S&P 500 tumbling 2.98% to close at 2,844.74. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2.9% to 25,717.74, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.47% to 7,726.04.

U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators recently wrapped up two days of talks in Shanghai and agreed to meet again in September for the next round.