Commodities - MAY 12, 2017

China, U.S. reach agreement on beef, poultry and natural gas

by Andrea Waitrovich

The United States and China have reached a trade agreement that lets U.S. firms export natural gas and beef to China, while Chinese companies can export cooked poultry to the United States.

The United States would also allow U.S. companies to ship liquefied natural gas to China as part of the bilateral agreement reached following President Donald Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April. The agreement covers a number of areas ranging from agriculture to energy to the operation of American financial firms in China.

The deal is part of the Trump administration’s plan to help reduce the massive trade deficit between the world’s two largest economies.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview the improved flow of trade with China will start lowering the nation’s $347 billion trade deficit with China  by the end of the year.

As part of the deal, China has agreed to accept U.S. beef imports by July 16, which would be nearly a year after Beijing said it would start buying beef again under the Obama administration, according to an article by political website The Hill.

China had conditionally lifted its longstanding import ban on American beef last year, but few purchases have been made. The ban was imposed in 2003 due to a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in Washington state.

And in November 2014, the Agriculture Department gave four Chinese companies approval to import cooked poultry products to the United States. But China’s food safety system still needed clearance from the Agriculture Department.

America’s trade deficit in goods and services with China totaled $310 billion last year, according to Fox. The deficit with China represented about 60 percent of last year’s total U.S. deficit of $500.6 billion.

The new deal does not touch on issues such as Chinese exports of steel and aluminum.

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