Cargo ships carrying U.S. sorghum en route to China changed course hours after China announced that it would impose a nearly 179 percent tariff on U.S. sorghum imports, according to a report.
Reuters reported that, of the 20 ships carrying U.S. sorghum that were on the water this week, at least five changed course after China’s announcement. The armada is carrying more than 1.2 million tons of the grain, valued at more than $216 million, Reuters said.
The five shipments that changed course were loaded at export terminals in the U.S. owned by Cargill Inc. or Archer Daniels Midland Co.
Reuters said Cargill confirmed it is the exporter, but it declined to confirm what is on the ships, the final destinations or the tonnage, the customers, why the ships stopped or if they are being re-directed.
Reports said it is unclear where the ships are now heading.
Sorghum is used in animal feed and to sweeten baijiu, a liquor popular in China.
China is the world’s largest importer of sorghum from the U.S., and imported 4.76 million tons of the grain, worth about $1.1 billion, in 2017.
U.S. companies will have to put up a 178.6 percent deposit on the value of sorghum shipments to China, which says the U.S. is dumping sorghum on the Chinese market, hurting domestic producers.
China launched an anti-dumping investigation in February and said it found its sorghum industry was “substantially damaged” by U.S. sorghum imports being dumped into the country. It said it would issue a final ruling later but did not say when.