(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday said private exporters reported the sale of 581,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China.

The announcement came two days after two traders with direct knowledge of the deals told Reuters that Chinese importers bought about 600,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans, following deputy-level trade talks in Washington last week.

The traders said the soybeans were due for shipment from Pacific Northwest export terminals from October to December. The purchases were similar in size to a wave of sales to China reported earlier this month.

The latest bookings were among the largest by private Chinese importers since Beijing raised import tariffs by 25% on U.S. soybeans in July 2018 in retaliation for U.S. duties on Chinese goods. Other soybean purchases over the past year have been made almost exclusively by state-owned Chinese firms, which are exempted from the steep import tariffs.

China has given new waivers to several importers to buy U.S. soybeans exempt from retaliatory tariffs, in a goodwill gesture ahead of high-level trade talks next month, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The waivers, offered in two batches, total around 5 million to 6 million tonnes, according to one of the sources.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a stinging rebuke to Beijing’s trade practices in a speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, saying he would not accept a “bad deal” with China on trade.

Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister and state councilor, said Beijing would not bow to threats, including on trade, though he said he hoped a round of high-level trade talks next month would produce positive results.
Source: (Reuters) Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; Editing by Tom Brown