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Head of U.S. Senate finance panel sees China keeping trade deal commitments

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Grassley speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee said on Tuesday he is not worried that China will fail to keep its commitments under the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal in the long term, despite current friction between the world's two largest economies.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley told reporters on a weekly call that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer shared that view following a call with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.

"I don’t have any reason to think that China long-term (is) not going to keep their agreement and that’s Lighthizer’s view after his conversation with the vice premier of China that he briefed me on. So I’m not worried about it,” Grassley said.

Grassley said he hoped any pause in China's purchases of U.S. soybeans and pork would be temporary.

"I've still got confidence that China's going to meet their responsibilities," he said.

State-owned Chinese firms bought at least three cargoes of U.S. soybeans on Monday, even as sources in China said the government had told them to halt purchases after Washington said it would eliminate special treatment for Hong Kong to punish Beijing.

Grassley's spokesman said he was referring to a discussion on May 7 that also involved U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

At the time, the USTR said the two sides agreed that "good progress" was being made to meet the requirements of the trade deal and that they expected to meet their obligations.


(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly, writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Grant McCool)