US-China Phase One trade deal signed

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

US-China Phase One trade deal signed

Related tags Us China Beef Poultry Pork Livestock Processing and packaging Innovation

The Phase One trade deal between the US and China that will see a reduction or removal of tariffs on products including meat and poultry has been signed by both countries.

Signed by US President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the deal is expected to be of huge benefit to the US meat industry.

US Secretary Perdue said: “While it took China a long time to realize President Trump was serious, this China Phase I Deal is a huge success for the entire economy. This agreement finally levels the playing field for US agriculture and will be a bonanza for America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers​.

“China has not played by the rules for too long, and I thank President Trump for standing up to their unfair trading practices and for putting America first. We look forward to exporting to Chinese customers hungry for American products.”

Most importantly for US meat and poultry producers, the Agriculture Chapter of the deal addresses structural barriers to trade and will support a dramatic expansion of US. food, agriculture and seafood product exports, increasing American farm and fishery income, generating more rural economic activity, and promoting job growth.

Numerous non-tariff barriers to US agriculture and seafood products are addressed, including for meat, poultry, seafood, rice, dairy, infant formula, horticultural products, animal feed and feed additives, pet food, and products of agriculture biotechnology.

Industry welcome

The signing of the deal was welcomed by the US meat industry. US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom said: “For the US pork and beef industries to expand their business in China, the world's largest and fastest-growing destination for imported red meat, it is critically important that China follows international standards for pork and beef trade. The Phase One trade agreement lays important groundwork toward this goal, and USMEF thanks the Trump administration for addressing the barriers that have hampered US pork and beef exports to China for many years.

“Last year China's red meat imports exceeded $14 billion, a 65% increase from 2018. The US industry looks forward to capturing a greater share of this rapidly growing market.”

National Cattlemen Beef Association president Jennifer Houston said it would be a “gamechanger”​ for the US beef industry.

“For many years, Chinese consumers have been denied access to high-quality US beef—the same US beef we feed to our families. Non-scientific trade barriers like the ban on production technologies, the extensive traceability requirements, and the 30-month BSE restriction have greatly limited our ability to tap into growing beef demand in China.

“The removal of these massive trade barriers gives Chinese consumers access to the US beef they desire, and it gives America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen the opportunity to provide US beef to a growing consumer-base that represents one-fifth of the global population and a middle-class that is greater than the entire US population.”

The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) also applauded the deal with China.

“We are encouraged by the Phase One deal with China, which eliminates non-tariff barriers to trade with our fastest growing market for meat and poultry products. We will continue to work with the Trump Administration to negotiate greater access to Chinese markets,​” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “It remains vital to address retaliatory tariff issues, which have made it difficult to export to China.”

National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson conveyed cautious optimism about the first phase of the agreement and pushed for stronger and more enforceable provisions in the second phase.

“After so many months of uncertainty and escalating tensions, it is a good sign that our two countries appear to have found common ground. We are hopeful that this deal will meaningfully address China’s problematic trade practices and intellectual property theft as well as finally establish some stability for American farmers’ export markets.

“But given the numerous deals that have been reached and then breached in the past two years, we are also skeptical. And without more concrete details, we are deeply concerned that all of this pain may not have been worth it. Not only has this trade war cost farmers billions of dollars' worth of sales to China, but it has also bruised our reputation, making other trading partners reluctant to work with us. To justify these lasting damages, this deal must deliver more than vague, unenforceable, short-term commitments ­– we need real and lasting behavioral change from China, and we need reliable and robust agricultural export markets. That is the standard the Trump administration should be aiming for as it negotiates the next phase of this agreement.”

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