The Trump administration has reached new deals with China to ease market access for a variety of industries, including beef and financial services, as the White House makes progress on trying to soften economic barriers between the two sides.
The 10-part agreement, announced by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, comes as part of an ongoing negotiation between the two countries following a meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping last month.
“We have some very big news,” Ross told reporters Thursday. “U.S.-China relationships are now hitting a new high, especially in trade. We’re announcing, jointly with the Chinese, the initial results of the 100-day action plan of the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue.”
The new arrangements include an agreement from China to allow imports of U.S. beef, on certain conditions, by July 16. The United States has pressured China for years to allow beef imports, but the process has been constantly delayed.
“It’s at least a $2.5 billion market that’s being opened up for U.S. beef,” Ross said.
Similarly, Washington has agreed to advance a new rule that would allow China to export cooked poultry to the United States. The impact of this change on the U.S. poultry industry is uncertain, but Ross said it would not be severe.
And there were numerous other parts of the preliminary agreement. This included language that appears to pave the way for U.S. firms to export liquid natural gas to China, the expediting of Chinese safety reviews for U.S. biotechnology applications, and cooperation between Chinese and U.S. regulators over financial transactions.
Other parts of the arrangement would direct China to issue bond underwriting and settlement licenses to “two qualified U.S. financial institutions” by July 17, a date that is significant because it comes 100 days after Trump and Xi met in Florida. And the United States has agreed to allow Chinese entrepreneurs to a Washington summit in June.
Trump spent months on the campaign trail berating China for its trade practices, but he has softened his approach since winning office. He has initiated reviews of China’s support of its steel and aluminum industries and its impact on U.S. trade, but the outcome of those reviews is unclear. He has shown a willingness to back away from trade-related threats after consulting with aides and foreign leaders, and he has recently heaped praise on Xi and what he perceives as China’s willingness to negotiate.
“As you can appreciate, this addresses 10 items,” Ross said of the initial agreements. “There are probably 500 items that you could potentially discuss; maybe more than 500.” Ross said they would continue working and then “see if we can reach agreement” on other matters.