WASHINGTON and BEIJING – The US and China have agreed to the first phase of a trade deal that includes, among other things, China agreeing to increase its American agricultural purchases, as well as the US cutting certain tariffs against China and removing the threat of new tariffs.
China will import more US wheat, rice and corn after the deal, Han Jun, vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, told Reuters.com reporters on Dec. 13. Reuters also reported Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission saying China will increase US imports of energy, agriculture, pharmaceutical products and financial services, but no details were given.
“President Trump has focused on concluding a Phase One agreement that achieves meaningful, fully-enforceable structural changes and begins rebalancing the US-China trade relationship. This unprecedented agreement accomplishes those very significant goals and would not have been possible without the President’s strong leadership,” said US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Wsj.com reported that Lighthizer said the exact products involved in the package designed to increase US exports by $200 billion over two years, which included China’s agricultural purchases, would remain classified.
President Trump tweeted, “We have agreed to a very large Phase One Deal with China. They have agreed to many structural changes and massive purchases of Agricultural Product, Energy, and Manufactured Goods, plus much more. The 25 percent Tariffs will remain as is, with 7½ percent put on much of the remainder…The Penalty Tariffs set for December 15th will not be charged because of the fact that we made the deal. We will begin negotiations on the Phase Two Deal immediately, rather than waiting until after the 2020 Election. This is an amazing deal for all. Thank you!”
President and CEO of the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Dan Halstrom said in a statement released Dec. 13, “China is the world's largest and fastest-growing destination for imported red meat, and the US industry is excited about the prospects for expanded opportunities in China. We look forward to learning more details about this Phase One agreement.
“US pork and beef products have been subject to burdensome retaliatory duties in China since 2018, and this has made it very difficult for the US industry to capitalize on China's rapidly growing need for high-quality proteins. But long before retaliatory duties entered the picture, non-tariff barriers were a major, persistent obstacle for US exporters looking to expand their business in China. USMEF thanks the Trump administration for bringing these issues to the forefront in an effort to persuade China to follow international standards for red meat trade.”