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

China is ready to start importing United States beef for the first time in 14 years, following last month's trade talks between president Donald Trump and Chinese premier Xi Jinping at Trump's Florida beach resort.

USA beef producers and financial firms will get more access to Chinese markets in exchange for chicken imports and a potential opening for Chinese banks.

Beijing will open its borders to USA beef, while cooked Chinese poultry is closer to landing on American supermarket shelves under a U.S. "Clearly China, whose banks are among the largest in the whole world, wants access to the US banking market".

The statement didn't appear to change access for Chinese companies to USA natural gas exports, but welcomed China to receive shipments and engage in long-term supply contracts with American suppliers.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) said it was "impossible to overstate" how big an impact the "historic" reopening of China will have for beef producers.

China was the 21st largest market for U.S poultry exports in 2016, purchasing only $33 million out of a total $3.875 billion of USA poultry exports.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross hailed the agreement, coming on the heels of President Donald Trump's April meeting with President Xi Jinping, as "a herculean accomplishment". With just one more round of technical consultations between the USA and China, American beef will once again be China-bound.

While Trump has said that he was willing to agree to less favorable trade terms for the United States in trade negotiations with China in order to enlist China' support in stopping North Korea's aggressive nuclear and ballistic missiles programs, Ross said there was no "quid pro quo in these discussions".

China's 1.37 billion residents are projected to eat roughly 17.6 billion pounds of the meat this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service. China will issue both bond underwriting and settlement licenses to two qualified US financial institutions as well. "We will be reaching out to our state's beef community to ensure that we continue to position Nebraska to play a key role in the Chinese market".

"Semiconductors are one of our shining industries, but they have gone from substantial surplus to the beginnings of a deficit", Ross told Reuters, which described the secretary as a "79-year-old billionaire".

FILE - In this January 22, 2003 file photo, a Chinese shopkeeper stands behind a row of beef products at an open air market in Beijing, China. Ricketts has long had his eye on China, visiting in both 2015 and 2016 in hopes of smoothing the way for Nebraska beef.

In return, the U.S. has agreed to open up to imports of cooked chicken products from China.

President Trump tweeted the news this morning, adding, "That's real news".

Additionally on agriculture, China's National Biosafety Committee will hold a meeting by the end of this month to evaluate eight pending US biotechnology product applications. "China economic relationship can't be politicized". The agreements will also help reduce Washington's trade deficit with Beijing.

Success in this arena will drive the USA cattle market and increase demand for U.S beef. -China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue. Both sides also identified other issues that will require significant effort to resolve and achieve progress on within the 100-day period, the US Department of Commerce said in a statement.

Vanessa Coleman

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