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USDA, USTR cite progress on farm provisions of US-China trade deal

The United States and China have made progress in implementing the agriculture-related provisions of a Phase 1 trade deal that took effect on 14th February, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and US Trade Representative said on Tuesday.

27 March 2020, at 2:11pm

In a joint statement, they listed a number of steps taken that should help boost US exports of beef, poultry and other farm products to China, and said US food and agricultural products exports were benefiting from Chinese tariff relief, reported Reuters.

"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 Jan. 15, Beijing agreed to nearly double its US. farm product purchases and lower several agricultural trade barriers that Washington said limited access to the lucrative Chinese market.

China since promised it would not impose a nationwide ban on imports of US poultry if the United States finds cases of avian flu, instead suspending imports only from the states where cases are found.

Beijing banned imports of US poultry and eggs in January 2015 because of a US outbreak of highly virulent avian flu, closing a market that was worth $500 million in 2013. The ban was lifted in November 2019.

China has also recently increased buying of US farm goods, including the country's first hard red winter wheat purchase since 2017 and its largest US corn purchase since 2013.

But imports of key products such as soybeans, the most valuable US farm export, remain well below pre-trade war levels.

China's season-to-date purchases of soy harvested last fall totaled about 12.1 million tonnes as of mid-March, according to USDA data. At the same point of 2017, China had purchased nearly 35 million tonnes of the oilseed.