U.S., China sign Phase One trade deal
On Jan. 15, the United States and China signed a “Phase One” trade agreement that both countries say will lead to increased purchases of U.S. agricultural products by China.
China will purchase at least $40 billion worth of agricultural products each of the next two years, according to a fact sheet from the office of the United States Trade Representative.
As a result of the agreement the U.S. did not impose threatened tariffs on $160 billion of Chinese imports in 2019.
“Today’s signing is an important step in giving America’s farmers and ranchers the ability to get back to business in the global market,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said. “China was once the largest market for U.S. agricultural products but has dropped to fifth largest since retaliatory tariffs were introduced. This agreement will help turn around two years of declining agricultural exports. The potential of tens of billions more in exports is welcome news for farmers who are eager to compete on a more level playing field.”
According to a White House press release, the deal is fully enforceable and addresses a wide range of trade and investment barriers and includes dispute resolution measures.
Other key agricultural components of the deal:
• The two nations agreed to not implement food safety regulations or require actions of the other nation’s regulatory authorities that are not science- and risk-based and will only apply regulations and actions that are necessary to protect human life or health. In addition, China agreed to improve its food safety measures affecting a wide variety of products, which will facilitate exports of U.S. food and agricultural products to China.
• China will expand the scope of beef products allowed to be imported, eliminate age restrictions on cattle slaughtered for export to China, eliminate unnecessary cattle traceability requirements, and provide for the establishment of maximum residue levels for three hormones legally used in the United States.
• China also agreed to broaden the list of pork products that are eligible for importation to include processed products such as ham and certain types of offal. China agreed to conduct a risk assessment for the veterinary drug ractopamine, which may be used in U.S. beef and pork production.
In a separate development, the U.S. Senate passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by an 89-10 vote on Jan. 16.