In this Sept. 21, 2018, file photo, soybeans are offloaded from a combine during the harvest in Brownsburg, Indiana. Credit: Michael Conroy | AP

China’s imports of U.S. soybeans rose to the highest in 20 months in November after more American cargoes cleared customs ahead of the signing of a partial trade deal in January.

China’s inbound shipments from the U.S. surged to 2.6 million tons, the highest since March 2018, and up from about 1.1 million tons in October. China imported almost no U.S. soybeans in November last year, customs data show.

Chinese companies are likely to continue purchasing American soybeans as the two countries are expected to sign the partial trade deal in early January. China has been issuing regular tariff waivers for domestic firms to buy U.S. soybeans. The waivers cover the 30 percent retaliatory tariffs on American soybeans. China’s total commitments in the current marketing year hit 10.5 million tons, compared with 2 million tons the previous year, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed.

China is reviewing retaliatory tariff exemptions for $60 billion of U.S. goods and will release a list of products eligible for an exemption at an “appropriate time,” China’s customs agency said in a statement.