Among other steps as part of Washington’s drive to cut its trade deficit with Beijing, the United States and China have agreed to take action by mid-July to increase access for U.S. financial firms and expand trade in beef and chicken.
Trade talks that began last month, when a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping proved far more friendly than had been expected after last year’s U.S. presidential campaign ad the deals are the first results of 100 days of that trade talks.
“This will help us to bring down the deficit for sure,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said at media briefing in Washington. “You watch and you’ll see.”
U.S. Treasury figures show that the United States ran a trade deficit of $347 billion with China last year.
In n a sector where China’s UnionPay system has had a near monopoly, China agreed to issue guidelines that would allow U.S.-owned card payment services “to begin the licensing process” by July 16, the 100th day after the leaders’ meeting.
While the United States will issue a proposed rule to allow Chinese cooked poultry to enter U.S. markets, China will also allow U.S. imports of beef no later than July 16.
credit rating services in China would also be able to be provided by foreign-owned firms.
“We believe that Sino-U.S. economic cooperation is the trend of the times… We will continue to move forward,” Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told a Beijing media briefing.
He would stop trade practices by China and other countries that he deemed unfair to the United States, Trump had pledged during his presidential campaign. Early fears of a trade war were fueled by his tough talk toward Beijing.
But expressing admiration for Xi and saying he wanted Beijing to help deal with the North Korean nuclear threat, Trump’s rhetoric toward China has softened in the past month.
Economic issues should not be politicized, Zhu said on Friday when asked whether the trade talks with the United States were related to North Korea.
The measures were a good beginning but not a breakthrough, said Ker Gibbs, the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.
“Past foot-dragging means we won’t celebrate until these promises are executed,” Gibbs said, calling the opening in the electronic payments market “mainly symbolic”.
“This should have been done years ago when it would have made a difference. At this point, the domestic players are well entrenched so foreign companies will have a hard time entering the China market.”
With the total value of exports rising by more than 1,100 percent since 2000 to $21.412 billion in 2016, China is the top export market for U.S. agriculture products. So, for U.S. exporters, beef sales are potentially lucrative.
Few purchases have been made even though China had conditionally lifted its longstanding import ban on American beef last year. Due to a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, in Washington state, the ban was imposed in 2003.
(Adapted from Reuters)