China, US reach agreement on beef, poultry and natural gas

Chinese President Xi Jinping left smiles at U.S. President Donald Trump as they pose together with their wives for

China announced on Friday an agreement with the United States to resume imports of U.S. beef and open its market to USA natural gas and financial services. It covers a range of long-standing barriers from agriculture to energy to the operation of American financial firms in China. "It has great potential", said Zou Wenlong, an analyst with the Nine-Alliance Group, a Chinese association of exporters, though he added his group would keep a close watch for continued signs of trade protectionism.

In the agreement announced by the U.S. Commerce Department, both sides also identified other issues that will require more effort to resolve and achieve progress on within the 100-day period. "China relations on trade", Ross told reporters Thursday evening at the White House.

But Sun Lin, a 33-year-old chef at a high-end Beijing hotel, said he viewed the trade deal as merely a diplomatic gesture. Ross said a deal for coal exports to China wasn't likely, given the far shipping distances.

Potential cooperation between the United States and China on LNG would not have any immediate impact on supplies, as China now does not need new gas supplies and the United States is not yet able to deliver more. Previous administrations have hailed market-opening agreements only to be left disappointed. It wasn't until last month at a Mar-a-Lago, Fla., meeting to advance U.S.

"The more these agreements include real, concrete outcomes rather than platitudes, rehashing old ground or punts to the future, the better they are", Mulhauser said.

China agreed to give "full and prompt market access" to payments companies, like Mastercard Inc., Visa Inc. and American Express Co.

"The agreement connects the USA, the fastest growing LNG supplier, with China, the largest LNG growth market", said Massimo Di-Odoardo, Head of Global Gas and LNG research at consultancy Wood Mackenzie. He's argued that America's perennial trade gaps have cost millions of factory jobs and he has pledged to take a tougher stance in trade negotiations to lower the imbalances.

Asia remains the top market for US beef shipments, selling $3.77 billion worth of beef cuts to Asia in 2016, out of USA exporters' total $6.34 billion.

The United States is expected to see its export capacity rise to more than 6 billion cubic feet per day (1.7 billion cubic meters) by the end of 2018. Asian countries already make up some of the largest markets for US beef, with Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan making up four of the top six export markets, accounting for $3.6 billion in value in 2016.

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"This will let China diversify, somewhat, their sources of supply and will provide a huge export market for American LNG producers", Ross said.

Ross downplayed the impact, pointing to the decline in natural gas prices.

China stopped importing USA beef in 2003 when mad cow disease became a problem for some herds. The Bush and Obama administrations have sought for years to get it removed. China announced today an agreement with the United States to open its market to U.S. beef, natural gas and certain financial services, a month after talks between their leaders. The Trump administration also assured Beijing that the U.S.is open to Chinese investment.

Here are the initial areas of agreement. The deficit with China represented about 60 percent of last year's total deficit of $500.6 billion.

The next step will be to hammer out a one-year plan that puts a timeframe on ticking off other items on each nation's trade "wish list", Ross said in a Bloomberg TV interview on Friday.

The countries have also agreed to work out a yearlong plan.

-China trade deal opens China to United States beef & gas, but unlikely to have large impact on trade deficit.

Tyson Foods Inc, Cargill Inc and JBS are among the biggest exporters of USA meat.

But a report by Capital Economics consultancy saw "paltry trade benefits" from the deal because it would amount to "just a few billion dollars".

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