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By Ryan Pickrell
China has agreed to open up its markets to U.S. financial firms and agriculture exports as part of a new bilateral trade agreement, in a decision the Trump administration called a “herculean accomplishment.”
The deal will allow the U.S. to export beef to China and the latter to export cooked poultry to the U.S. Furthermore, American firms will allow crediting services in China. The 10-point trade package unveiled Friday is being touted as an “early harvest” of the 100-day trade plan President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to during their meeting in early April, reports the Financial Times. The two sides may extend the plan from 100 days to one year.
China also agreed to speed up the process for approving certain U.S. biotechnology products.
The U.S. also revealed it will send a delegation to represent the U.S. at an upcoming forum in Beijing for China’s massive One Belt, One Road initiative, a major global trade project. In return, China will send a delegation to a foreign investors meeting in the U.S. this summer. “The United States welcomes direct investment by Chinese entrepreneurs as it does entrepreneurs from other countries,” the relevant joint statement explained.
While the Trump administration regularly complains about America’s almost $350 billion trade deficit with China, the president and other administration officials have taken a less aggressive and confrontational stance on trade, especially as Beijing appears to be taking clear steps to rein in North Korea.
“This will help us to bring down the deficit for sure,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross explained at press briefing. “You watch and you’ll see.”
“U.S.-China relationships are now hitting a new high especially in trade,” he added.
“This was pretty much a herculean accomplishment to get this done,” Ross said, praising the administration’s latest achievements. “This is more than has been done in the whole history of U.S.-China relations on trade.”
Trump praised the trade deal in a tweet Friday morning.
China just agreed that the U.S. will be allowed to sell beef, and other major products, into China once again. This is REAL news!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
“We believe that Sino-U.S. economic cooperation is the trend of the times,” Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao told reporters in Beijing. “We will continue to move forward.”
The Wall Street Journal commented that it is unclear “how much, if at all, the changes would reduce the” U.S. trade deficit with China, noting that many of the breakthroughs the Trump administration is claiming have been hailed as victories by past administrations only to be encumbered by new roadblocks later.
“Past foot-dragging means we won’t celebrate until these promises are executed,” Ker Gibbs, the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, told Reuters, adding, “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.”