WASHINGTON - The United States and China have gained progress in achieving the agriculture-related agreements of a Phase 1 trade deal that produced results on February 14, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Trade Representative said on Tuesday.
In a joint announcement, they recorded advanced steps taken that should help support U.S. exports of meat, poultry and other farm items to China, and said the U.S. food and agricultural products exports were profiting from Chinese tariff alleviation.
“These steps show that China is moving in the right direction to implement the Phase 1 agreement,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “We will continue to work with China to ensure full implementation of its commitments and look forward to seeing further improvement and progress as we continue our ongoing bilateral discussions.”
As part of the deal signed on January 15, Beijing agreed to nearly double its U.S. farm product supplies and lower down several agricultural exchange barriers that Washington said constrained access to the profitable Chinese market.
China since guaranteed it would not force a nationwide restriction on imports of U.S. poultry if the United States discovers cases of avian influenza, rather suspending imports just from the states where cases are found.
Beijing prohibited imports of U.S. poultry and eggs in January 2015 due to an U.S. outbreak of exceptionally harmful avian flu, shutting a market that was worth $500 million in 2013. The ban was lifted in November 2019.
China has also recently expanded buying of U.S. farm goods, including the nation’s first hard red winter wheat purchase since 2017 and its biggest U.S. corn purchase since 2013.
But imports of key items such as soybeans, the most significant U.S. farm export, remain well below pre-trade war levels.
China’s season-to-date purchases of soy gathered last fall totaled about 12.1 million tons as of mid-March, according to USDA information. At the same point of 2017, China had bought about 35 million tons of the oilseeds.