Trade deal feeds China taste for beef, won't close deficit

Ross sits for an interview in his office in Washington

Ross sits for an interview in his office in Washington

US Meat Export Federation USMEF welcomes today's announcement that the United States and China have reached a high-level agreement that will allow USA beef to reenter the Chinese market after a prolonged absence of more than 13 years. Being locked out of the world's largest market for 13 years, we welcome this announcement.

North Dakota cattle producers cheered the reopening of the Chinese market to USA beef.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced deals that will send US beef exports to China, allow Chinese imports of cooked poultry, expand USA electronic payment services and provide for faster regulatory approval of biotechnology products by Beijing.

"This administration has certainly made the agricultural community fairly nervous when it comes to its positions on trade", Dux said.

North American Meat Institute (NAMI) chairman Bob Evens called the deal "a significant and very welcome milestone" with great potential for USA jobs and economic growth.

The US administration was "excited" about Washington's trade policies, said US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as he arrived for a meeting of G7 finance ministers in Italy.

Those in the livestock industry also hope other countries may follow in China's footsteps.

In the financial sector, the announcement said China will allow wholly foreign-owned financial firms in China to provide credit rating services, and issue bond underwriting and settlement licenses to two qualified U.S. financial institutions. "And China is the world's largest consumer of LNG and the world's largest importer ... the idea of having big, long-term contracts is very, very attractive to our industry".

In turn, the U.S is to allow cooked Chinese chicken meat and for Chinese banks to enter the U.S markets.

The effects of the deal are expected to become more apparent in the longer term, as it will take time to build infrastructure and find markets within the country, according to Petry, who said Canada previously negotiated a deal for beef imports to China and the effects have been positive but slow to materialize.

Domestically produced Chinese beef is on sale at a supermarket in Beijing, Friday, May 12, 2017.

But since he hit it off with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month, he has dropped the idea of labelling China a currency manipulator.

"President Trump is a clever man and he is now looking for global investors, including Chinese investors", Xu Hongcai, an economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told CNBC.

DOC said both sides also identified other issues that will require significant effort to resolve and achieve progress on within the 100-day period. "This is more than has been done in the whole history of U.S".

Though a decent start, it won't do much to reduce Uncle Sam's trade deficit with China, which stood at almost $350 billion in 2016 - and which widened in March.

The Chinese market is estimated to be worth $2.6 billion for the US beef industry. Ross said he recognized that many issues and sectors were not addressed in the May 11 deal.

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